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2018-06-04 13:10:00

JAPAN'S OIL INVESTMENT

JAPAN'S OIL INVESTMENT

PLATTSJapan is keen to back oil investments in the Caspian states of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan as it tries to reduce its reliance on Middle Eastern countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, the UAE and to a lesser extent Iran, Japanese officials said Wednesday.

Japan also aims to avoid a sharp drop in imports from Iran and to seek some form of exemption from the renewed US sanctions against Tehran, the principal deputy director of the oil and gas division at Japan's ministry of economy, trade and industry (METI), Daisuke Hirota, told Platts on the sidelines of a conference in Baku.

Japanese state-controlled company JOGMEC signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday on cooperating in oil exploration at "promising" blocks offshore Azerbaijan, which is home to one of the world's oldest oil industries. The agreement also covered technological cooperation and training, notably in enhanced oil recovery techniques.

Japan's Inpex holds stakes in Azerbaijan's flagship oil complex ACG (Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli) and the BTC pipeline, and in Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan field. Japan's Itochu also holds a stake in ACG, Daisaku Hiraki, parliamentary vice-minister at METI, noted in a speech to the conference.

Projects such as ACG and Kashagan "are extremely important for Japan's energy security from the viewpoint of energy diversification," Hiraki told the event. "Japan has been strongly tied to the Caspian region... Much potential of natural resources still exists in the Caspian region."

In March, state-owned JOGMEC provided Inpex with Yen 60 billion ($550 million) to support expansion of Kazakhstan's Kashagan field, which came on stream in 2016 after much delay.

Caspian oil accounts for only a small share of Japan's imports. Around 28,000 b/d was imported from Kazakhstan last year, compared with much larger amounts from the Middle East, and 185,000 b/d from Russia, the latter being mainly light oil shipped from the Russian Far East, Hirota said.

But Caspian oil projects provide an element of energy security through potential swap arrangements in emergency situations, and further increases in production could help restrain prices for the region's relatively pricey crude, Hirota said.

"In emergency these kind of oil assets are very useful," he added.

Hirota noted that roughly 40% of Japan's crude imports come from Saudi Arabia and the UAE combined, while about 5% is from Iran.

On US sanctions against Iran, Hirota said Japan was seeking clarification from the US and played down the prospect of reducing Iranian crude imports, something the Petroleum Association of Japan has said could happen from October.

He noted Japan had an exemption from the US and EU-led sanctions regime earlier in the decade.

"We continued to import about 170,000 b/d from Iran and now we continue to import from Iran at this level," he told S&P Global Platts. "We think to continue to get the exemption from the US to keep this amount of imports from Iran."

"Japanese companies don't want to stop imports suddenly," he said, adding the US position needed clarifying.

"The situation in the US government is drastically changing every day," he said. "Now we are collecting information and keep in touch with the US government."

"We need to continue to keep imports, and to keep imports from Iran we need to get information and communication with the US government," he said.

Iran's relatively low-cost crude is valued by Japanese refiners partly because of its heavier quality, Hirota noted.

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Earlier:

 SAUDIS OIL FOR JAPAN
2018, February, 14, 09:50:00

SAUDIS OIL FOR JAPAN

PLATTS - Saudi Arabia's commitment to the OPEC-led production output cut deal was confirmed with reduced exports to key Asian outlets in 2017, but Japanese imports of Saudi crude jumped to the highest level in 35 years as the kingdom also maintained its flexibility to meet demand whenever there is a need. Japan's crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia rose 9.5% year on year to 1.295 million b/d in 2017, or 40.1% of total imports in the year, and the country's imports of Saudi crude in 2017 were the highest since 1982, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry data.

 JAPAN'S LNG MAXIMUM
2018, February, 7, 07:50:00

JAPAN'S LNG MAXIMUM

REUTERS - Japan’s imports of LNG rose to nearly 8.7 million tonnes last month, up 8 percent from December and the largest volume since at least January, 2013, according to ship tracking data on Thomson Reuters Eikon that stretches back five years.

 JAPAN'S RENEWABLE ENERGY
2018, January, 15, 09:40:00

JAPAN'S RENEWABLE ENERGY

BLOOMBERG - Japan’s plans to develop its renewable energy industry are lagging much of the world, as the nation has “prioritized keeping the status quo for fear of change,” Foreign Minister Taro Kono said.

 JAPAN'S LPG UP TWICE
2017, December, 22, 22:05:00

JAPAN'S LPG UP TWICE

REUTERS - Japan’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) imports from the United States are expected to double in 2017 to a record and account for around for around half of its total purchases, government and shipping data showed.

 JAPAN LNG INVESTMENT
2017, October, 16, 11:35:00

JAPAN LNG INVESTMENT

The Japanese government will offer $10 billion to support firms bidding to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure around Asia, the Nikkei business daily said on Monday.

 QATAR - JAPAN LNG TALKS
2017, May, 31, 17:35:00

QATAR - JAPAN LNG TALKS

Qatar faces rising competition from a tide of new LNG from sources including Australia, which is expected to surpass it as the world's top exporter by 2019.

 INDIA - JAPAN COOPERATION
2017, January, 13, 18:55:00

INDIA - JAPAN COOPERATION

India and Japan should co-operate on long term contracts for LNG with a defined cost of energy which would provide a stabilizing factor for the renewable energy thrust that India is currently giving, Indian minister for power, coal, new & renewable energy and mines, Piyush Goyal said January 11 on the side-lines of the seventh India-Japan Energy Forum in New Delhi.

 

 

Tags: JAPAN, OIL, INVESTMENT, IRAN, KAZAKHSTAN, AZERBAIJAN
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