Osaka Gas May Pull Out of Marubeni Thermal Power Project

(Bloomberg) — Osaka Gas Co. may pull out of a thermal
power project planned with Marubeni Corp. amid signs of nuclear
restarts and increasing calls to reduce carbon dioxide from
power generation.

The Osaka-based company is considering giving up on its
participation in the project in Ibaraki prefecture, Takahiro
Yamane, a spokesman for Osaka Gas, said by phone Monday. He said
no decision has been made and couldn’t confirm project details.

The Nikkei newspaper reported without attribution on Sunday
that Osaka Gas plans to withdraw from the 30 billion yen ($248
million) power project, which will use coal as fuel and is
expected to start running by March 2019. Marubeni will examine
the feasibility of the project while seeking a new partner, the
paper reported.

Marubeni officials weren’t immediately available for
comment.

Japan’s nuclear fleet was gradually taken off line in the
years since the Fukushima disaster, with the last of the
country’s 43 operable commercial reactors closed in September
2013 for safety checks. Power producers turned to coal and gas
as power sources to make up for the lost or suspended nuclear
capacity.

Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s two reactors came back online
this year. Three other reactors have met safety standards to
restart and 20 more units are seeking clearance, according to
the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum.

Japan’s reactors are seen resuming operation faster than
originally anticipated, with three restarting in the first half
of 2016, London-based consultant Energy Aspects said in a report
dated Dec. 17.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at cwatanabe5@bloomberg.net;
Stephen Stapczynski in Tokyo at sstapczynsk1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net
Iain Wilson, Abhay Singh

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