Houston-based JGC Energy Development (USA) Inc. (JEDI), a unit of Yokohama, Japan-based engineering firm JGC Corp. (JGC), has agreed to acquire a stake in Eagle Ford Shale oil assets from TriTech LLC, the company said.

The area being acquired by JGC, for about $65 million, consists of about 63,000 acres on which Chesapeake Energy Corp. holds a 50% interest and other U.S. companies hold 40%, while the 10% held by TriTech will be transferred to JGC. Chesapeake is the operator. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of July.

JEDI President Masato Kato told NGI’s Shale Daily that the deal marks the company’s entry into U.S. shales. JEDI has had its eye on the Niobrara, Haynesville and Bakken plays as well, he said.

Development of the Eagle Ford acreage is in early stages, Kato said, and JEDI is waiting to see results before deciding on its next move.

JGC entered the oil and gas exploration and production sector in 2003 when it invested in gas field development in Mexico with by Teikoku Oil Co. (now Inpex Corp.). In 2007 JGC, through JEDI, became an independent operator of an oil and gas field in South Louisiana.

“By participating in the development of unconventional resources like shale oil, JGC will be able to accumulate knowledge and experience to further its advancement into resource development fields,” the company said.

Earlier this year Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and a unit of Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) struck a joint venture (JV) agreement giving KNOC one-third of Anadarko’s interest in its southwest Texas Maverick Basin assets in the Eagle Ford (see Shale Daily, March 22). More recently Marathon Oil Corp. agreed to pay $3.5 billion to acquire the Eagle Ford assets of Hilcorp Resources Holdings LP (see Shale Daily, June 2). Elsewhere, Japanese companies have taken stakes in British Columbia shale gas (see Shale Daily, May 10).