Russia has authorized investments by Japanese trading houses Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. in the Sakhalin 2 oil and gas energy project, a step toward resource-poor Japan procuring stable supplies of liquefied natural gas.
Mitsui said Wednesday that the Russian government has approved a plan for the trading house to hold a 12.5 percent stake in the project's operator, newly set up by Moscow in early August. The holding would be equivalent to Mitsui's stake in the former operator of the project.
The Russian government said the same day that it has also given the green light for Mitsubishi, which owned 10 percent of the previous firm, to take the same stake in the new company.
The Tokyo-based firms' moves to invest in the new operator, set up by Moscow to take control of the natural resources project in the Russian Far East, come as Japan aims to secure a stable supply of LNG amid market disruptions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The new operator, established on Aug. 5 under a decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has offered the same contractual terms to energy companies as under the previous entity.
An affiliate of Russian energy firm Gazprom has a controlling stake in the new operator.
Gazprom had a stake of around 50 percent in the old operator, while British oil major Shell PLC held an approximately 27.5 percent share in the predecessor before deciding to exit over Russia's military aggression against Ukraine.
The Sakhalin 2 project accounts for around 9 percent of Japan's LNG imports and is seen as vital by Tokyo.