The Russia-Ukraine war may still reign as the world’s most topical geopolitical event, but energy security has become the reason behind both the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ driving numerous companies, especially Asian ones, to do business in the energy space across the U.S.

The Asian umbrella covers populous and high energy demand centers like China and India, but it also includes countries like Singapore and Thailand, as well as LNG importers, including Japan and South Korea.

Putin’s war on Ukraine sparked higher demand in Europe for LNG. The result was a price spike that pushed LNG cargoes out of reach for most of South Asia and onto the shores of European countries desperate for stable supply.

No wonder many countries across Asia and beyond turned heavily to coal usage last year.

Now that Europe has survived the winter threat with no harsh energy rationing, and China has reopened after strict COVID-19 lockdowns, LNG prices have retreated.

South Asia is still worried about energy security and is increasingly contemplating markets where energy supply is abundant and relatively unrestrained.

Enter Tokyo Gas Co. and Osaka Gas Co. just for starters.

Both companies have upstream oil and gas activities in the U.S., most notably in Texas. And, both participate in U.S. LNG projects that are key components of U.S. plans to continue to principally supply LNG to energy-starved markets impacted by the war in Europe.

Both Asian producers are willing and able to go “where the molecules are to invest in projects when possible,” Paul Everingham, CEO of the Singapore-based Asia Natural Gas & Energy Association (ANGEA) told Hart Energy recently in Houston.

Tokyo Gas, Japan’s largest gas utility company, is already in Texas. As part of a U.S. subsidiary, the firm has access to Barnett and Eagle Ford shale, as well as assets in East Texas and North Louisiana acreage in the Cotton Valley and Haynesville shales. Tokyo Gas also participates in the Cove Point liquefaction project on the U.S. East Coast.

Osaka Gas is active in upstream operations in East Texas and the Cotton Valley Sand and Haynesville shale formations through its interest in Sabine Oil & Gas. Osaka also participates in the Freeport liquefaction project on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Despite their holdings, both companies continue to seek out other opportunities in line with their mandates to maintain stable energy supply back home. And that bodes well for continued foreign direct investment in the U.S. upstream, midstream and downstream sectors.

Tokyo Gas is looking to acquire additional North American assets and operating companies in shale gas and renewables. The firm is also eyeing moves into the decarbonization sector with renewable gas and related businesses in energy services.

Osaka Gas looks to integrate its overseas energy business into its major earnings driver to achieve stable operations and sustainable growth. In that vein, the company wants stable procurement, supply and wide use of natural gas.

While the Permian Basin in West Texas has garnered most of the attention in terms of production potential and M&A, the Haynesville has also attracted the attention of Tokyo Gas and Osaka Gas, among other international oil companies (IOCs).

Tokyo Gas recently failed to execute a $4.6 billion deal to acquire Rockcliff Energy. But, along with Osaka Gas, Toho Gas and Mitsubishi Corp., the firm has agreed to undertake a feasibility study for synthetic methane in Texas and Louisiana, which would be liquefied at Cameron LNG for transport to Japan.

All told, energy pundits argue that the Japanese and South Koreans aren’t just satisfied with being offtakers to U.S. LNG projects. They are keen on other opportunities as well.

IOCs are looking at the Haynesville for upstream and LNG prospects, Greenhill & Co. Managing Director Jeet Benipal said at Hart Energy’s DUG Haynesville event in Shreveport, Louisiana. Energy Advisors Group partner Adrian Goodisman said during the same event that he foresees additional acquisitions by Tokyo Gas and Osaka Gas in the Haynesville, without citing a likely time frame.

With numerous U.S. and Mexican LNG projects queued up, one thing is for sure: Japan and South Korea are still interested in North American gas supply, and that scenario is not likely to change anytime soon.