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Japan nears debut of 1st offshore gas project in 32 years

Effort part of Tokyo's goal to reduce energy dependence on foreign sources

Japan's sole offshore oil and gas field is off the coast of Niigata Prefecture. (Photo by Takuya Imai)

TOKYO -- Japan looks to develop its first new offshore natural gas field in over three decades, a project billed as bolstering the country's energy independence.

Japanese energy company Inpex and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. will launch the project in March, it was announced Monday. JOGMEC, a state-owned firm, will foot half of the 33 billion yen ($288 million) investment.

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