Marubeni confirmed Wednesday that it will buy a 49 percent stake in Gulfstar One, the latter – a company launched by William Partners – is currently constructing a floating platform at the offshore Tubular Bells field held by Hess Corporation and Chevron.
The $1 billion deal could pave a way for Marubeni to participate in North America's expanding shale gas segment.
"Infrastructure projects related to oil and gas production, processing, transportation and distribution have been one of the focused business areas for Marubeni, as represented by its recent investments in gas processing, transportation and distribution projects in Australia," the company said in a statement.
"Marubeni aims to grow this business segment through participation in this project and development of their relationship with Williams," the company added.
The Gulfstar spar platform, designed to process 60,000 barrels of oil per day and 200 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, will be installed in Block 768 of the Gulf of Mexico's Mississippi Canyon area in 4,300 feet of water.
Marubeni and Williams also inked an agreement to cooperate on petrochemical downstream projects, and oil and gas infrastructure developments utilizing gas produced in North America including shale plays.
The Tubular Bells prospect on the Mississippi Canyon Block 725, roughly 135 miles (217 kilometers) southeast of New Orleans, was discovered by the Deepwater Horizon semisub Oct. 29, 2003. The discovery well, drilled to a depth of 31,131 feet (9,489 meters) in approximately 4,300 feet (1,311 meters) of water, found 190 feet (58 meters) of net oil pay. Following the Tubular Bells discovery, a successful appraisal well was drilled in 2006 and encountered hydrocarbons 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the initial well.
BP hired Ocean Confidence (UDW semisub) to drill two sidetrack wells to further delineate the field. A sidetrack well was completed in 1Q 2007, followed by a further appraisal well spudded in October of that same year.