Inpex's ambition to "enhance the exploration and production asset portfolio" has taken the Japanese pioneer to one of the world's true frontier regions - waters off north-eastern Greenland.
In conjunction with Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell, an Inpex-led consortium of Japanese energy groups has been awarded two exploration permits in the Kanumas area, ranging from 60km to 200km from Greenland's coast.
Inpex says the Kanumas region is new territory for the oil and gas industry and is yet to witness any drilling activity.
"Many exploration and production companies expect major oil and gas discoveries," Inpex said when announcing the permit awards late on Tuesday.
The Japanese consortium includes the state-backed Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. Chevron, which already has a sizeable presence in Greenland waters, is the permit operator while Shell has farmed out a stake in its defining Prelude floating LNG project, off the Kimberley coast, to Inpex.
Inpex's main focus is developing the $US34 billion Ichthys LNG project, to be anchored by a processing plant in Darwin. Ichthys is Inpex's, and corporate Japan's, first attempt at developing an LNG project.
Long regarded as one of the last untouched regions because of its cold climate, Greenland has gradually opened itself up to minerals and hydrocarbon exploration. However, most of the oil and gas hunt has been along Greenland's west coast.