Japan's Cosmo reviewing offshore wind power strategy

FILE PHOTO: A light is seen under a signboard of Cosmo Energy Holdings
FILE PHOTO: A light is seen under a signboard of Cosmo Energy Holdings' Cosmo Oil service station in Tokyo, Japan, December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Cosmo Energy Holdings said on Thursday it is reviewing its strategy for offshore wind power after losing at the public auction for new local sites, though it is sticking to its 2030 target, an executive said on Thursday.

Japan's industry and land ministries late last year selected three consortiums, all led by Mitsubishi Corp, to operate three offshore wind power projects in Akita, northern Japan, and Chiba, near Tokyo.

Cosmo had bid for one of the Akita projects.

"We are in a strategy review as we need to thoroughly strengthen cost competitiveness by going through all of supply chain including construction, operation and management and electricity customers," Cosmo's senior executive officer, Takayuki Uematsu, told a news conference.

"We won't be able to compete unless we expand our thinking to supply chain and become creative like designing a new market," he said, without elaborating.

By 2030 Cosmo plans to boost its wind power capacity to 1.5 gigawatts (GW) from 0.3 GW.

"We'll advance our existing offshore projects and expand the scale of onshore farms," Uematsu said.

Japan plans to install up to 45 GW of offshore wind power by 2040 to curb emissions.

For the year to March 31, Cosmo raised its net profit forecast to a record 115 billion yen ($993 million) from a November estimate of 93 billion helped by soaring oil prices, appraisal gains on its inventory and earnings in oil development segment.

Net profit for April-December jumped nearly five-fold to 79.9 billion yen as its refineries kept a high run rate of 94%.

"Our annual run rate is expected at around 95%," Uematsu said.

Global investors are closely watching the outcome of U.S.-Iran nuclear talks which resumed this week.

Cosmo is not considering resuming imports of Iranian oil yet, Uematsu said.

($1 = 115.8300 yen)

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; editing by Jason Neely)

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