May 5, 2014 1:33 am JST

Osaka Gas to insure Papua New Guinea project

OSAKA -- For the first time, Osaka Gas will take out overseas investment insurance as it broadens its energy prospecting to riskier shores.

     The city gas distributor is in talks with Nippon Export and Investment Insurance on coverage for its stake in a Papua New Guinea venture that is slated to begin producing natural gas and condensate, a kind of light oil, next year.

     An agreement with NEXI is expected by this summer. Osaka Gas is also looking to insure a shale gas liquefaction project in the U.S. state of Texas.

     The company is involved in 12 natural resource projects abroad, mostly in Australia. According to a recently released business plan, it will budget 360 billion yen ($3.48 billion) for new overseas energy investments through fiscal 2020 -- double a 2009 spending projection.

     The increase reflects the emergence of shale gas, which has transformed the energy landscape. Osaka Gas also appears keen on Siberian and East African gas.