Ichthys LNG project is a large-scale LNG project operated by INPEX CORPORATION, the first Japanese operator of a world class LNG project. The Ichthys Gas-Condensate field is located about 200 km offshore Western Australia - more than 800 km south-west of Darwin, Northern Territory. Water depth is approximately 250 m. The Ichthys LNG project is comprised of three mega projects with offshore facilities, gas export pipeline and onshore LNG facilities. Production capacity of Ichthys LNG project is approximately 8.9 MTPA of LNG and approximately 1.65 million tons of LPG per year, along with approximately 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak. Production of gas from the wellhead commenced in July 2018, and the project commenced shipment of condensate and LNG in October 2018, and LPG in November 2018. Production ramp-up has been progressing very well. INPEX will continue to work toward achieving safe and stable production, and contribute to a stable supply of energy in Japan and Asia region.
The United States of America has become the world biggest oil producer again in 2018. The reason is the shale gas and shale oil revolution. USA, Saudi Arabia and Russia are producing oil over 10 million barrels per day. Now, the world oil producing countries are watching not oil peak in supply side but oil peak in demand side. The 21st century is both environment protection century and natural gas century. The world oil demand will become over 100 million barrels per day in 2040. The oil and natural gas development industry is required to explore oil and natural gas, considering the protection of environment.
Climate policies at a national level and private sector initiatives are becoming important. Climate actions are of paramount importance as a policy priority for the EU and the Democrats/Democratic-leaning independents in the United States. In the EU and the United States, climate policies, and trade and financial policies are being linked. European Commission President von der Leyen considers introducing a carbon border adjustment mechanism, and in the United States both Democrats and Republicans also consider imposing a border carbon adjustment for the presidential election. In the EU, a unified classification system （ʻtaxonomyʼ） on what can be considered an environmentally sustainable economic activity is discussed in order to facilitate sustainable investment. In the United States, on the other hand, there is a discussion on whether ESG finance hinders energy infrastructure investment. Behind long-term strategies of global energy companies towards a low carbon economy lie the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure and institutional investors groupsʼ move over shareholder resolutions. Against this background, some upstream energy and utility companies have sold coal assets, strengthened natural gas assets or switched to renewable energy and energy efficiency businesses, while others sold natural gas assets from a longer-term perspective. In addition, several upstream energy companies, especially the US companies, recently invested in technologies such as CCUS.
China is the biggest passenger car sales country in the world. The Chinese government has been promoting EV sales for the environment protection and the manufacturing industry encouraging. As a result, EV sales are rapidly developing recent years. Adding this, with the high-speed railway development, transportation fuel substitution has occurred. However, Chinaʼs oil demand will be seen keeps high level because owned car stocks, the demand of transportation fuels other than vehicles such as aviation and ships, and the demand for petrochemicals will be increasing for the time being.
Recently the global LNG market is evolving. In the conventional business model, long-term contracts were key for both sellers and buyers to decide their large investments. But now more flexible transactions are expanding due to several reasons such as the shale gas revolution in US, over supply market, and the liberalization of gas and electricity in LNG consuming countries. Then, new business models are needed, particularly for LNG suppliers who must decide the investment without enough long-term commitments by off takers. On the other hand, LNG demand is expected to increase in emerging Asian countries. But to realize these potential demands, it is necessary to build LNGrelated infrastructures in those countries such as receiving terminal, gas pipeline network, gas-fired power plant, and so on. It means that “building a gas value chain” is essential to expand LNG market. So, one of new business models for LNG suppliers is to create the demand in such emerging countries with contributing to building a gas value chain. INPEX will proceed this “global gas value chain strategy” in order to develop LNG demand, especially for our next challenge for Abadi LNG project in Indonesia, following the successful start-up of Ichthys project. For this new approach, we believe we can utilize our expertise and experience of integrated operation from upstream to middle and downstream of gas business, including LNG production, shipping, receiving terminal in Naoetsu, and domestic pipeline gas supply in Japan. INPEX will contribute to building the gas value chain in emerging Asia by investment, operation and human resource corporation.
Canadaʼs crude oil production is the fourth largest in the world （4.6 million bbl/day in 2018）. The rapid production increase since 2000 is due to the development of the oil sands. The key technological developments for insitu recovery from the oil sands began with the development of the steam assisted gravity drainage （SAGD） process and horizontal well drilling technology allowing for the accurate placement of shallow wells （1980s）. With a growing awareness of the environmental impacts of all industries, the Canadian oil sands producers have been actively working on technological innovations that increase production efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas（GHG）emission intensity. The sharp drop in oil prices in 2014 also served to increase the focus on efficiency and cost reduction.
With the large increase in production, export pipeline capacity has not kept up and production capability exceeds takeaway capacity in Western Canada. Approximately 80％ of Canadian crude is exported to US refineries, but despite strong demand for heavy crudes in US markets, Alberta production has experienced significant discounts due to the lack of transportation. In late 2018, the discount for Canadian heavy crudes became so large that the Alberta Government took the unusual step of issuing an order to curtail production to bring prices closer to fair market value - value that reflected the pricing in the end markets for Albertaʼs products. The construction of new pipelines requires a lot of dialogue with environmental groups, local governments, and indigenous people, and progress is slow. Railroad transportation and refinery expansion in Canada are being promoted in parallel to help reduce the imbalance between production and takeaway capacity. This paper discusses the ongoing development of oil sands technology, the current status of our subsidiary company（JACOS）, and the market environment and challenges of the Canadian oil sands industry.
To predict asphaltene precipitation problem, Hansen solubility parameter (HSP) analyses were applied to three Japanese oil fields: Minami-Kuwayama, Yabase, and Minami-Aga. The analyzed samples were stock tank oil（STO） and heptane-insoluble asphaltene (Asp) of each oil. Comparing the relative distances between the HSPs of STO and Asp (Ra) to the radius of Hansen solubility sphere of STO (R0) in each oil field, the smaller Ra/R0（ RED: Relative Energy Difference） means the higher affinity of Asp with STO. As a result, the REDs of Minami-Kuwayama, Yabase, and Minami-Aga were 0.90, 0.45, and 0.65, respectively. The result indicated that Minami-Kuwayama oil should have the highest probability in asphaltene precipitation problem, corresponds to the fact that only this oil field has encountered asphaltene problems from the beginning of field development stage. It was found that HSP analyses were very helpful for the prediction of asphaltene problem.
This excursion has been carried out in every autumn since 2008, visiting the southern Kanto gas field
（“Minami-Kanto gas field”） located in the Boso Peninsula. Since the ?rst time, we have visited the natural gas seepage spot, the production plant of natural gas and iodine, and outcrops of the Pleistocene Kazusa Group which produces natural gas. From the last excursion, we added a new spot known as “Chiba Section”, a part of the Kokumoto Formation of the Kazusa Group, which records the geomagnetic boundary of Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic boundary about 0.77 Ma and was officially approved as a Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point （GSSP） of the middle Pleistocene subseries just on 17 January 2020. This excursion was carried out on 1 November 2019. At the first stop, we visited Godo Shigen Co., Ltd., a major iodine-producing company occupying 7 % of the world iodine share, observed the production plants of natural gas and iodine. Then, we visited the natural gas seepage site and observed the active bubbling phenomenon of methane gas at the surface of the Mizusawa River. After lunch, we visited outcrops around a public cultural and sport facilities, observed sedimentary structures of turbidite sandstones and related deposits of the Otadai Formation of the Kazusa Group. After that, we visited the Otaki Natural-gas Memorial Museum which show the development of natural gas in Otaki Town, where natural gas dissolved in water was firstly discovered and developed. At last, we visited and observed only the nearby area of the Chiba Section, because we could not approach to the just point of the section, an outcrop along the Yoro River, due to the destruction of the stairway lastly reaching the floor of the river by torrential rain on 25 October 2019.