In 2009, the United States overtook Russia to become the world’s top producer of natural gas. Four years later, it leapfrogged Saudi Arabia to become the world’s top petroleum producer as well. Thanks to the shale revolution, the United States is today both the biggest producer and the biggest consumer of oil and gas. This epochal shift of energy’s center of gravity to the United States has transformed the dynamics of the market—and is creating all sorts of opportunities.
Mitsui & Co. is seizing those opportunities with both hands. The company built an upstream presence in the shale gas business with the 2010 establishment of Mitsui E&P USA LLC (MEPUSA) to manage its interests in the United States. The logical next step was to create another entity to market the gas which MEPUSA was producing. This led to the birth of Mitsui & Co. Energy Marketing Services (USA) Inc., or MEMS, in March 2011. The two companies have complementary roles: while MEPUSA’s task is to develop a competitive upstream asset portfolio, MEMS’ mission is to expand midstream and downstream operations to create a more diversified business.