Japan's second biggest oil and gas explorer, Japan Petroleum Exploration plans to buy a 10 percent stake in Petroliam Nasional Bhd or Petronas' Canadian Liquified Natural Gas project.
In a statement, the company known as Japex, said that it has entered into an agreement with the Malaysian firm to participate in a natural gas development and production project in British Columbia and a planned LNG project on the western coast of the same province. Full value of the deal is yet to be revealed.
Japan has become increasingly dependent on LNG ever since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that damaged the Fuskushima plant, triggering a string of nuclear plant shutdowns in the country.
Although the newly elected Shinzo Abe-led Japanese government has promised to restart nuclear plants with strict quality control measures, there is no clear cut time scale for it. Considering the opposition on the matter, analysts do not expect it to be an easy matter for the administration.
Hence, electric firms have had to depend on foreign fossil fuels, prompting the country's energy groups and trading companies to make massive investments in projects abroad. North American projects in particular have proved popular as the recent shale gas boom triggered by the sophisticated 'fracking' technology has sent prices to record low rates.
Inpex, Japan's biggest energy explorer and producer has made moves to reposition itself after the earthquake. The group has poured funds into a large LNG project in Western Australia and is seeking to become a major global operator, according to a Financial Times report.
In 2012, Japex had said that it would widen its Canadian oil sands operations with a plan to begin production in the financial year starting March 2016. Japex and Petronas are partners in another project in Iraq, planning production at the Gharaf oilfield by the second half of 2013.
Japex shares gained 2.6 percent in Tokyo as the finer details of the deal was revealed.