UAE becomes top oil supplier to Japan

Nov 26, 2003 01:00 AM

The UAE became the top oil supplier to Japan in the second half of this year, overtaking neighbouring Saudi Arabia to deliver more than a quarter of the crude needs of the southeast Asian industrial giant, according to official figures. The country's oil exports to its main Asian economic partner stood at around 5.2 mm kilolitres in July, an average 1.089 mm bpd, showed the figures by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
Saudi Arabia's crude supplies to the Japanese were estimated at nearly 3.76 mm kilolitres, an average 824,000 bpd, far lower than the previous months. The UAE's oil sales to Japan, mostly from Abu Dhabi, accounted for 26.6 % of the Tokyo's total crude imports of 19.5 mm kilolitres (4.08 mm bpd).
"In the first half of 2003, Saudi Arabia was the top oil supplier to Japan but it was overtaken by the UAE in recent months," METI said in a report.

Saudi Arabia's oil exports to Japan totalled 29.8 mm kilolitres (1.039 mm bpd) in the first half of this year while the UAE's supplies were estimated at 29.5 mm kilolitres (1.029 mm bpd). Apart from Saudi crude, Japan also imports oil from the Neutral Zone shared by the Kingdom and Kuwait, with a production of nearly 300,000 bpd.
Around 2.14 mm kilolitres of the UAE's oil exports to Japan in July were Murban crude while nearly 776 mm were from Lower Zakum and the rest from Upper Zakum, among the biggest offshore oilfields in the world. Japan has a shareholding in some UAE oil companies and its Tokyo Electric Power is the main client of Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction (Adgas).

Japan's oil imports from the UAE have risen steadily this year while those from Saudi Arabia have fallen from around 4.94 mm kilolitres in May to 4.26 mm kilolitres in June and 3.76 mm kilolitres in July, METI figures showed. Japan is also a major oil buyer from other Gulf producers including Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Iran. While supplies from Iran have stabilised at around 3.1 mm kilolitres a month this year, imports from Kuwait and Qatar fluctuated because of the Iraq war.
But the biggest change was in crude imports from Oman as they tumbled to around 421,000 kilolitres (88,129 bpd) in July from 1.76 mm kilolitres (368,000 bpd) in June. According to the report, Japan's oil imports from the Middle East totalled around 131 mm kilolitres (4.57 mm bpd) in the first half of this year. The supplies accounted for nearly 83.4 % of its total crude oil imports.

"Japan will remain heavily reliant on oil from the Middle East, especially the Gulf, given the region's vast crude deposits and Japan's limited resources," an oil analyst said. "Its dependence on oil imports is now estimated at 98 % and the ratio will exceed 99 % and could reach 100 % in the next 20 years."
Large oil supplies have turned the UAE into one of the biggest trading partners of Japan, ranking second only to Saudi Arabia in the Middle East last year. Two-way trade totalled around $ 14.4 bn, including $ 11.5 bn worth of UAE exports.

Source: Al Nisr Publishing
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