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Japan's JXTG to be renamed ENEOS as it prepares for energy transition

Tokyo — Japan's largest refiner JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy will be renamed ENEOS Corp. in June next year as part of a wider re-organization of the parent company JXTG Holdings as it prepares to adopt to a changing business environment centered on transition towards low carbon intensity and more holistic energy offerings.

The move, which will also involve renaming the parent company to ENEOS Holdings upon approval at its annual shareholders meeting in June 2020, comes as it strives to be a more comprehensive energy and materials company under its 2040 vision announced in May, JXTG Holdings said Thursday.

JXTG's renaming will be the latest in a growing trend in the global oil industry facing the need to broaden energy portfolios as well as to make greater efforts toward a low carbon society.

The new corporate name of ENEOS was coined from a combination of the words energy and neos, which means new in Greek, joins a growing bandwagon of traditional oil companies looking to reinvent themselves as drivers of low-carbon sustainable energy.

It follows a similar move in May when Norwegian state-controlled petroleum group Statoil changed its name to Equinor to reflect its broadening energy portfolio and production base in addition to oil and gas.

The Japanese company, which currently has a combined 1.93 million b/d of refining capacity, will drop Nippon Oil from the English trade name of its downstream arm for the first time since the establishment of Nippon Oil in 1888.

The company, however, will keep the trade name of JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp. and JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corp for its respective E&P and metals businesses.

ENEOS, meanwhile, has been used as a brand name for the group's energy businesses since its introduction as a brand name for service stations in 2001, and it is now used as a brand name at about 13,000 service stations in Japan.

2040 VISION

Announcing its 2040 vision in May, JXTG Holdings said it aims to be a leading energy and materials company in Asia and intends to seek growth in areas including petrochemicals, power generation and hydrogen businesses while keeping its refining, E&P and metals businesses as its foundation.

Among its foundation businesses, the company intends to further optimize refining operations to ensure stable oil products supply as well as looking to enhance its gas businesses to meet growing demand in Asia toward 2040.

Most recently, JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy and Mitsubishi Chemical jointly announced on November 7 that they were forming a joint venture in the Kashima complex on the east coast to consider ways to optimize operations for refining and petrochemical production.

Under the 50:50 joint venture, JXTG and Mitsubishi Chemical will look at how the companies can boost competitiveness further by effectively using feedstocks for gasoline and petrochemical production in the Kashima complex, the companies said.

JXTG currently supplies naphtha via pipeline from the 197,100 b/d Kashima refinery to Mitsubishi Chemical's steam cracker in the Kashima complex. JXTG's Kashima refinery also has a 35,100 b/d condensate splitter.

JXTG Holdings was formed as a result of a merger between JX Holdings and TonenGeneral in April 2017. This followed the establishment of JX Holdings as a result of the merger between Nippon Oil and Nippon Mining Holdings in April 2010.

-- Takeo Kumagai, takeo.kumagai@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Wendy Wells, wendy.wells@spglobal.com