UAE sees greater cooperation with Europe in future as possibility

Jul 10, 2001 02:00 AM

A GCC and European Union committee has been set up to discuss a project for gas exports to Europe, according to Obaid bin Saif Al Nasiri, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. "Japan is the most important partner for the UAE, and the UAE will make sure that Japanese oil companies have equal share as other majors," Nasiri told a gathering at the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up, adding that Japan has a good chance to play a bigger role in UAE oil fields.
Although Japan is the UAE's biggest natural gas export market, greater cooperation with Europe in future is a possibility with the setting up of a joint GCC-European Union committee for gas exports, he said.
Earlier, Nasiri held a meeting with the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Takeo Hiranuma. The discussions revolved around stability in the oil market and cooperation in the oil and gas sector, a Japanese spokesman said. The two ministers also discussed the forthcoming international oil forum to be held in Japan next year.

The Japanese minister, while reiterating the importance of the Middle East as a major energy supplier to Japan, said Tokyo is looking at Central Asia to diversify its sources of energy. "Japan relies on this region for about 86 % of its oil supplies. This region is important to Japan. But Japan needs to diversify its sources."
Having just signed a protocol with Iran for Japanese participation in oil exploration in the south-western Azadegan oil field, the minister said a final agreement will be signed by the end of 2001 with work commencing soon thereafter. About Japan's involvement in Kuwait, he said negotiations will be carried out for renewal of contracts to secure oil imports from Kuwait.
"In our relationship with Kuwait, we consider that Japan must have further discussions to secure stable supplies of oil from Kuwait within the framework of continued operations of the Arabian Oil Co (AOC)," he said adding that "we are also discussing cooperation in sectors other than energy."

The minister pointed out that the economic reforms under Japan's new Prime Minister will see the country's growth rate go up by 2 % after three years. "Although the recession affected the Japanese economy during the 1990s, Japan is currently seeking to revive and rebuild its economy," he said.

Source: Gulf News
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