MitsubishiCorp., Japan's biggest trading house, said on Friday it had been in contact with Anadarko Petroleum of the United States about buying a stake in an oil and gas field in the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. oil company said in March it had agreed to sell 23.2% of its interest in the K2 complex off the coast of Louisiana to two undisclosed parties for $1.2 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2007, the U.S. company said in a statement.
The Nikkei business daily reported on Friday that Mitsubishi and Nippon Oil, Japan's biggest refiner, will each take an 11.6% stake in the field for combined $1.2 billion.
A Nippon Oil spokesman said nothing had been decided and declined to comment further.
The business paper said the deal, which would likely be one of the largest Japanese investments of its kind, would give the two firms rights to a combined 11,000 barrel per day in the oil field that is already in operation.
The two Japanese firms will begin oil distribution in the U.S. immediately after obtaining the rights, the paper said.
Mitsubishi, which produced oil equivalents of 80,000-90,000 bpd at the end of March 2007, faces a lean year until full-fledged start-up of the Sakhalin-2 liquid natural gas project in 2008, from which it will receive dividend payments.
Marubeni, Japan's fifth-biggest trading house, spent $1.2 billion on oil and gas rights in the Gulf of Mexico in 2006.