Saudi Arabia main oil exporter to Japan

TOKYO — Saudi Arabia took the top spot as biggest oil exporter to Japan, with imports from the Kingdom growing 1.0 percent on the year to 1.04 million bpd, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 725,000 bpd, down 1.6 percent, the Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency said in a preliminary report Friday.

Qatar ranked third, but its shipments declined 12.9 percent to 309,000 bpd and Russia was fifth with 202,000 bpd, up 11.4 percent.

Kuwait’s crude oil exports to Japan jumped 25.3 percent in October from a year earlier to 8.19 million barrels, or 264,000 barrels per day (bpd), for the first expansion in two months, the report said.

As Japan’s fourth-biggest oil provider, Kuwait supplied 8.1 percent of the Asian nation’s total crude imports, compared with 6.2 percent in the same month of last year and 7.3 percent in September, the report added.

Japan’s overall imports of crude oil went down 3.6 percent year-on-year to 3.28 million bpd for the second consecutive monthly drop. Shipments from the Middle East stood at 2.72 million bpd, and accounted for 81.1 percent of the total, down 3.2 percentage points from the year before.

Although the Japanese government has decided to provide insurance for tankers carrying Iranian crude bound for Japan, imports from Iran plunged 40.2 percent last month to 157,000 bpd.

The legislation enables the world’s No.3 oil consumer to continue importing Iranian oil even after new European Union (EU) sanctions against Iran starting from July, which ban insurance firms of EU countries from covering Iran’s exports. Japan has already secured a waiver from US financial sanctions against Iran in return for cutting its imports of Iranian crude oil.

Resources-poor Japan is the world’s third-largest oil consumer after the US and China, and it relies on crude oil imports for about 50 percent of its energy needs. Shipments of direct-deal, which prices are based on the average spot price of Dubai crude, the benchmark for Asia, account for about 80 percent of Japan’s crude imports.

The Saudi Gazette 2012,Dec 01 2012