Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation and the Nippon GTL Technology Research Association consisting of 6 private Japanese companies such as INPEX CORPORATION, JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd, COSMO OIL CO., Ltd, NIPPON STEEL & SUMIKIN ENGINEERING CO., Ltd and CHIYODA CORPORATION, successfully achieved the goal of establishing JAPAN-GTL Process by 11,000 hours of demonstration operations since April 2009, by using the JAPAN-GTL Demonstration Test Plant in Niigata with the capacity of 500 barrels per day (80 kilo-litter). JAPAN-GTL Process is a groundbreaking technology that would for the first time ever allow for natural gas containing carbon dioxide to be used directly. It is able to convert not only natural gas, but shale gas, coal bed methane (CBM) and so on as a raw material into petroleum products, and is an extremely effective means to gain alternative fuel sources to petroleum and achieve the diversification of primary energy supplies. The fuels produced by GTL technology is also expected to be environmentally-friendly clean fuels. We have been conducted preliminary feasibility studies to apply JAPAN-GTL Process to gas assets of national oil corporations and international companies. We will continue to achieve a stable energy supply for Japan and harmony with the global environment.
Akita University has a long history on research and education for metal and petroleum mining industry, and graduated many mining technologists to the industrial world. On the basis of the characteristics of historical backgrounds, we develop the idea for establishment plan of new faculty “International Resource Sciences”. The faculty characterized by packaged education of social sciences, earth science, and geotechnology, is divided into three courses as Resource Policy, Earth Resource Science, and Resource Development and Environment courses. The education curriculum and mission of new faculty is organized based on the evidence of hearing investigation from mining industry. We introduce the new faculty program “International Resource Sciences” in this paper briefly.
In recent years, Japan Drilling Co., Ltd. (JDC), the sole offshore drilling company in Japan, operates most of its rig fleets outside Japan. Competing against foreign drilling companies as the unique drilling company based in the resource-limited country like Japan, we would say that one of JDC's strengths on human resources aspect would come from the policy on the management of employees that (1) JDC deploys mainly Japanese employees under lifetime employment system for the prominent positions of the rigs such as a Drilling Superintendent, a Barge Superintendent, Chief Engineer/Electrician and so on and also that (2) JDC does utmost effort to minimize layoff of foreign employees as much as possible during the idol period of the rig unlike other foreign drilling companies which, it's just like they say, often do so, and we believe that such way of management eventually leads the drilling operations stable and also leads to receive recognitions from the clients in the world. On the other hand, in its medium-term management plan JDC also recognizes the polarization in the generation of rig employees as the one of most urgent and important issues to be tackled. JDC is therefore making its best effort (1) to recruit competent employees especially to secure talented new-graduates majored in the engineering faculty and (2) to train/foster and develop career of such fresh employees rapidly so that we can accelerate a generational change in proper timing. Securing workforce and career development are an important issues not only for Japanese employees but also for non-Japanese employees however due to limitations of space, it is focused on how JDC tackles such issues on young Japanese employees including new-graduates this time.
JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation was established in 2010 as one of the three core business companies of the JX Group, into which Nippon Oil Corporation and Shin-Nikko Holdings were integrated. We specialize in exploration and production business of oil and gas among the Group companies. We are working on the human resources development and training since the establishment of the company. The human resources (HR) development and training are some of the most important themes of the management of our company. The reason why we emphasize to work on the HR development and training is from the differences between downstream business and upstream business in the oil and gas industry and the differences between the capabilities and strength of employees which are required in each business. With our situation in consideration, we have established the HR development and training system by clarifying the type of capabilities that we require from the employees. Moreover, we have not merely made the framework but also elaborated the way to operate the system so that it may effectively function by rotating the Plan-Do-Check-Action (PDCA) cycle efficiently.
Being global talent is nothing special. All you need to have are firm skills in your petrotechnical field, a broaden outlook by liberal arts, and a wish of cross-cultural communication wherever you are and whoever you work with. As we have done, and been doing, our business in such global circumstances since many years ago, you also can do it with us.
As concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to consuming fossil fuels has increased, global warming is accelerated in last decades. In addition, increases in consuming fossil fuels have led to their depletion in recent years. One of the practical measures to those two challenges is the conversion of energy resources to natural gas having less environmental impact. Gas hydrates trapping natural gas have been discovered in the sea around Japan. They are expected to serve as a new non-conventional natural gas resource. To understand the mechanism of gas hydrate accumulation, the amount of free gas in sediments should be known. However, without affecting other properties, its non-destructive measurement is difficult. Therefore, we examined a new technique for measuring the amount of free gas using Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR). TDR has been popular to measure moisture content of soil. In this study, we estimated a gas ratio in the sea-bottom sediment obtained from the Eastern Margin of Japan Sea using TDR. We found that the gas phase exist up to about 7%.
In 2010 the MD179 project was undertaken aiming at recovery of deep seated gas hydrate, methane induced carbonate, and deep sediments older than 300 ka. Sediment samples were obtained in the Umitaka Spur, Joetsu Channel, Toyama Trough, Japan Basin, Nishi Tsugaru and Okushiri Ridge areas. Small amounts of sandy sediment have been retrieved as thin intercalations in Pleistocene and Holocene muddy layers, where trace fossils and strong bioturbations are commonly observed. Those sandy sediments consist of very fine- to fine-grained sand grains, and are sometimes tuffaceous. Pore-size distribution measurements and thin-section observations of these sands were undertaken, which indicated that porosities of muddy sediments are around 50 % but those of arenites range from 42 to 52%. Mean pore sizes and permeabilities of those arenites are larger than those of mudstones. While the presence of gas hydrate in intergranular pores of sands has not been confirmed, the soupy occurrence in recovered sediments may strongly indicate the presence of hydrate filling the intergranular pore system of sands. Such arenites have been recognized till now in the Mallik, NW Territory Canada, as well as in the Nankai Trough areas, which are expected common even in the subsurface sandy sediments at the eastern margin of Japan Sea. Concentration of gas hydrate may need primary intergranular pores large enough for gas hydrate to occur within host sediments likely deposited in the sedimentary environment such as deep sea channels. Small amounts of sandy sediment were retrieved as thin intercalations in Pleistocene silty layers, because supplying sediments may not be abundant due to sea level fluctuation during Pleistocene ice age. As time of deposition of coarse-grained sediments can be recognized by the thermoluminescence (TL) dating method, sandy sediments are usually tuffaceous and contain a small amount of quartz grains, and TL dating has been completed only for seven samples, which indicate 48 to 980 ka in age. This study was performed as a part of the MH21 Research Consortium.
A large number of ice-rafted debris (IRD) have been found in the MD179 cores of the Japan Sea from off Joetsu to off Okushiri Island. The IRD appear in the MIS 5.4 when the last inter-glacial period passed, and occur most abundantly during the MIS 2. The occurrence of IRD in the sediments of off Joetsu indicates floated ice had commonly appeared in the further southern part of the Japan Sea than the area the former studies have expected. Basalt lava is the most common lithology among the collected IRD, and black siliceous mudstone or chert follow it. The roundness of IRD reveals the IRD-bearing ice was not originated from on-land glacier but from sea ice formed on sea shore. The sea ice has been expected to come from southern part of the Sikhote-Alin area of the Asian Continent across the Japan Sea (Ikehara, 2003), but the lithology of IRD indicates the coast along the Japanese Islands is not precluded from the provenance area. The high frequency of IRD in the sediment of off Joetsu during the MIS 2 strongly suggests the floated ice had arrived in the further southern part of the Japan Sea. The formation and melting of sea ice in a wide area of the Japan Sea should have had a great influence on the environment of the Japan Sea and the surrounding land areas.
CO2-EOR application to the offshore oilfield in Vietnam has been investigated through an international joint study between Vietnam and Japan since 2007. Preliminary studies: laboratory experiments, screening study for CO2 recovery and simulation study indicated the feasibility. To reduce and mitigate uncertainties and risks in the field scale EOR implementation, the first offshore CO2-EOR pilot test was executed in Rang Dong oilfield, May 2011. The test was conducted in the method of “Huff ‘n’ Puff” in Lower Miocene sandstone of Rang Dong oilfield, where oil has been produced since 1998. The test was designed to optimize CO2 injection volume, soaking time, production duration and monitoring plan. Operational risks were also assessed because of unpracticed CO2 handling and the uncertainties of the reservoir performance, then contingency plan was prepared as countermeasure against the risk. In the actual test, over 110 tons of CO2 were successfully injected into the target reservoir. No safety and environmental issues were observed throughout the test operation. Bottom-hole pressure was kept higher than Minimum Miscibility Pressure (MMP) during the injection period, thus miscible condition was considered to be achieved near the wellbore. The intervals where CO2 injected were identified from oil saturation changes measured by several saturation logs and production log. Oil increment and water cut reduction from original pre-CO2 injection flow were clearly observed during post-CO2 injection flow (Puff) period, and oil composition change of fluid samples indicated oil vaporization and CO2 condensation into oil. CO2-EOR effects were clearly observed based on the monitored data and experimental results, such as production/injection performance, bottom-hole pressure, wireline logs, on-site fluid analysis and laboratory experiments after the test. The simulation model that integrated these data showed good agreement with the actual behavior and quantitatively evaluated the incremental oil.
A tracer test is a powerful experiment to identify fractures in underground reservoirs, which significantly affect fluid flow in a porous medium. The complex variable boundary element method (CVBEM) is capable of simulating time-series of the tracer concentration at a producer when the physical properties of the medium and the tracer injection plan are given. Several studies have proposed inversion procedures to identify physical parameters of a fracture in a homogeneous porous medium, using such as the genetic algorithm (GA) or the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) combined with iterative computations of CVBEM. The present paper proposes, for this inversion problem, a Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm, which enables us to obtain a posterior probability density function (PDF) as well as an optimum value for each model parameter that characterizes the fracture. The proposed algorithm is performed to twin experiments that confirm whether properties of a synthetically-assumed fracture are reproduced from time-series of tracer concentration at a producer, which CVBEM has computed in advance. A clustering result of the K-means, which is applied to the samples obtained by MCMC, provides candidate solutions corresponding to local maximums of the posterior PDF. The candidate solutions are ranked by the posterior PDF at the centroid of each cluster. Especially in the case of the two-directional tracer test, in which two pairs of injector and producer are located, the optimum parameter set that maximizes the posterior PDF successfully reproduces both the fracture properties and the concentration curves.
Lightness of two long (over 30 m) piston core sediment (MD179-3329 and -3304) obtained at the Umitaka Spur off Joetsu of Japan Sea, was measured at 2 cm interval by MINOLTA SPAD 503 spectrometer. Umitaka Spur, about 900 m below sea level, is closed to Japan Alps and characterized by high sedimentation rates of about 0.4 mm/y, along with dozens of distinctive marker tephras. MD 179-3296 and -3304 sites show similarities and record Dansgaard/Oeschger (D/O) type oscillations as the lightness change of the sediment during the late Pleistocene. The two marine cores also suggest that there are somewhat similar oscillations during Holocene. The symmetrical lightness changes of the marine cores resemble those of stalagmites record from caves in China rather than the asymmetrical changes of temperature proxy record from Greenland ice cores, ie rapid temperature rise and gradual decline. This implies the lightness of the marine sediments reflects terrestrial sediment flux depending on the precipitation controlled by summer Asian monsoon activity. Thus, the lightness change has a potential to reconstruct paleoenvironmental changes with high resolution of decennial timescale in the marginal areas of the Japan Sea with high sedimentation rates.