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Marubeni Buys 49% Stake in $1 Billion Gulf of Mexico Oil Project

Marubeni Corp. bought a 49 percent stake from Williams Partners LP in an oil and gas platform project in the Gulf of Mexico that will cost $1 billion as it seeks to participate in North America’s expanding energy output.

Japan’s biggest grain-trading company is investing in a processing platform with a unit of Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams Partners, it said in a statement today. The facility will start operating in the first quarter of 2014. The two companies also plan to partner in petrochemical projects, which would use shale gas extracted in North America, according to the statement, which didn’t give a value for the transaction.

The floating platform, which is part of the Tubular Bells Field being developed by Hess Corp. and Chevron Corp., will process 60,000 barrels of oil and 135 million cubic feet of gas a day.

Energy contributed almost 20 percent of Marubeni’s 47.1 billion yen ($502 million) profit in the three months ending Dec. 31. The Tokyo-based trader will focus on industries related to energy extraction, power utilities, and transportation to tap the boom in U.S. shale oil and gas production, Chief Executive Officer Teruo Asada said in December.

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