Iraq to boost oil and gas supplies to Japan

Oct 27, 2010 12:00 AM

Iraq is aiming to become a major oil and gas supplier to Japan, Baghdad's oil minister said after a meeting with Japanese officials. Oil Minister Ali al-Shahristani also said that Japan offered economic aid, in the form of loans and investments, to help build infrastructure.

The statement was released following a meeting in Baghdad with Mitsuo Sakaba, a Japanese envoy to Iraq for reconstruction issues.

Earlier in October, Iraq announced its crude oil reserves were 24 % higher than previously estimated. The country is believed to have over 10 % of global reserves.

Japan is a leading purchaser of oil from Iran, but a report in the Financial Times in September implied that Western countries' economic sanctions were raising concern that it will be more difficult to buy Iranian supplies.

Many banks have cut down on issuing letters of credit -- instruments needed for trade -- with Iranian financial institutions, as Tehran faces pressures over its nuclear program. Japan's five-year operation in Iraq, billed as aid for the reconstruction of the country, came to a formal conclusion in 2009.

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