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Offshore Rare-Earth in Japan: Oil & Gas Game Changer

Minamitori IslandDiscovery

Back in April, Japan published a report announcing the discovery of huge reserves of rare-earth offshore the Minamitori Island, 1800 kilometers away east from Tokyo.

Scientists discovered 16 million tons of rare-earth elements encapsulated in mud 6000 meters underwater, enough to supply the electronic industry and the world consumption for at least 400 years.

Game Changer in Electronic and Car Industries

Rare-earth became a crucial resource in the last 30 years as it happens to be a key ingredient to produce a variety of equipment, such as: batteries, screens, fuel cells, electronics, wind turbines, optic fibers, alloys and catalysts.

As strategic as it seems, 90% of the world production is in fact controlled by China, which now sits in a dominant position for number of critical markets.

With this discovery, Japan sees the opportunity to bypasses this monopoly and secures the supply for these highly strategic sectors of electronic and new technology.

Opportunity for Oil & Gas Sector

This discovery of rare-earth is not only a game changer for Japan and the industries consuming these highly controlled resources.

With the growing need of rare-earth to produce batteries or any other electronic devices, the resource becomes critical in the perspective of electric transition and electronic development.

Being at the first building block of many high-technology industries, Japan’s discovery is inspiring other countries to look for their own stock of “rare mud” and to develop their supply sufficiency of rare-earth material.

But exploring subseas to produce resources is not an easy task as we saw it in the Oil & Gas industries for some decades.

In that respect making new offshore rare-earth discoveries and developing these rare mud fields in viable economic conditions will present the same challenges to the mining companies as handled today by the Oil & Gas companies.

Therefore would it be a suitable opportunity for the O&G industry to extend its know-how into this activity?

In addition to the transfer of technology, the Oil & Gas companies could find there an opportunity to show their contribution to speed up the energy transition in facilitating the access to the required resources.

This bet seems already proven to work as Japan Drilling and Modec both experienced (10% and 5% respectively) raise of their stock following the Japan offshore rare-earth discovery announcement.



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3 Comments to “Offshore Rare-Earth in Japan: Oil & Gas Game Changer”

  1. Je me permets – juste entre nous :
    L’info d’impliquer les spécialistes pétroliers est super
    Elle devrait apparaitre dans le titre du message pour mieux attirer l’attention
    Souhaitez vous que je vous fasse une petite place dans mes prochaines NEWS de Janvier pour un article ou vos activités en général ?
    Bien à vous

    • Merci beaucoup pour votre message et proposition.
      Oui bien sûr, nous serions très heureux que l’un de nos articles puisse apparaitre dans vos news.

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