The Japanese oil exploration and production company will spud the first well at its area 40 concession in the Mediterranean Sea.

The company has three concessions in Libya, which it acquired in a 2005 auction. They are block four of the onshore area 176 in the Murzuq region, and offshore blocks three and four of area 40 in the Mediterranean.

Seismic 2D and 3D surveys were conducted on the blocks in 2007, and the area 40 spudding will be the first step towards drilling.

Japex is the principal operator of the field, and a 42 per cent shareholder in the concession. Japan’s Nippon Oil Exploration and Mitsubishi Corporation hold 38 per cent and 20 per cent stakes in the venture respectively.