The Nippon Foundation – DeepStar PartnershipMOU for cooperation in offshore technology development project signed in Houston

Signing the memorandum of understanding; The Nippon Foundation Executive Director Mitsuyuki Unno (seated left) and Shakir Shamshy, DeepStar director, Chevron Energy Technology Company, and member of the DeepStar management committee (seated right)

One of The Nippon Foundation’s areas of activity is the enhancement of technological capabilities needed in the offshore development market and the training of offshore development technicians with specialized expertise. On May 1 (local time), the Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the DeepStar global offshore research and development consortium in Houston, Texas, for the creation of a joint program to support research and development related to offshore development. The DeepStar consortium is based in Houston with eight participants, all major offshore oil and gas companies from around the world, with additional engineering companies, schools, and other organizations as members.

The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa speaking at the signing

The joint program will support technological development with the aim of developing leading offshore technologies over the next 10 years. By incorporating Japan’s cutting-edge technologies in offshore development, the program aims to contribute to the knowledge and expertise that will drive future technologies, and train Japanese offshore development technicians in Japan.
The program is expected to comprise roughly 10 projects over four years, from fiscal 2008 to 2012, with funding of up to approximately 1.1 billion yen. Projects are to be planned by a specialist committee made up of Japanese and U.S. oil and gas companies, with the committee scheduled to begin meeting from October.

Yohei Sasakawa (third from right) talks with Larry Bell (second from right), founding director and professor, and other staff members at the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) at the University of Houston

Houston is the United States’ fourth most populous city, following New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Located near the Gulf of Mexico, it is a hub for offshore oil and gas development. Many US and international energy-related companies are headquartered or have important bases there. First held in 1969, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) is held in Houston every May and is the world’s largest oil and gas sector trade show. The conference is regularly attended by more than 90,000 people from roughly 130 countries. Houston is also home to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Johnson Space Center.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa explained:

“As you all know, the offshore energy sector is experiencing a new wave. There are challenges to reduce costs, lower emission of greenhouse gases, and explore more difficult terrain such as ultra-deep-water areas. Borrowing established technologies from other industries such as artificial intelligence will be critical. Investing in new offshore technology developed by startup companies will also be vital.
“The joint program with DeepStar will foster leading innovative technology in offshore development by supporting projects which will combine Houston’s existing technologies and expertise with new innovative technologies from Japan. Over the next four years, we hope to fund multiple projects that will total in value of up to ten million U.S. dollars.”

Yohei Sasakawa delivering the first pitch at Minute Maid Park

On the evening of May 1, Mr. Sasakawa was invited to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game between the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros and the New York Yankees at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.


Communications Department
The Nippon Foundation


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