INPEX has completed the drilling operations on an exploratory well offshore Shimane and Yamaguchi prefectures in Japan.

The operations, which were started in June this year, comprised of drilling to a depth of 2,900m below the sea floor at a location that is 130km northwest of Shimane, 140km north of Yamaguchi where the water is 210m deep.

These drilling operations are part of a project commissioned by the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan for the agency’s ‘Heisei 26-28 Domestic Offshore Drilling Programme in Japan’.

Upon completion, Inpex found a thin gas reservoir in a shallow zone in addition to some gas indications in deeper zones.

Unexpected, strong gas indications were also encountered that suggested the presence of a high-pressure gas column in the deepest zone.

Inpex plans to use these findings to conduct a detailed analysis and evaluation of data obtained through the drilling operations in a bid to continue the exploration of prospects in this area.

The company said it will prioritise safety by keeping local communities fully informed throughout the project execution.

"The company said it will prioritise safety by keeping local communities fully informed throughout the project execution."

Both Shimane and Yamaguchi prefectures are located in the Chugoku region on the main Honshu Island.

Shimane, which has an area elongated from east to west facing the Chugoku mountain range on the south side, is divided into the Izumo region in the east, the Iwami region in the west and the Oki region off the northern coast.

Yamaguchi was created by the merger of the provinces of Suo and Nagato.


Image: Semi-submersible drilling rig MG Hulme Jr. Photo: courtesy of INPEX CORPORATION.