Japan has offered to help Saudi Arabia build nuclear power stations to free up more oil for exports, Kyodo news agency reported on Sunday, but a visiting Japanese minister said he was not seeking a supply increase now.
Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi’s visit at the weekend was aimed at securing extra oil from the world’s biggest exporter in case of instability in world supply, Japanese officials had said.
Japan’s reliance on oil imports has risen after its own shift from nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, but any deal to give Japan priority access to Saudi crude in the event of supply shortages would worry other oil importers.
“It was not that we have asked for any specific request for increase of production or supply. It was just the confirmation of the relationship we have,” Motegi told journalists when asked whether he had sought assurances Japan could get more oil in a crisis.
Motegi had offered help building nuclear plants to free more crude for export and to meet rising Saudi demand for electricity, Kyodo news agency said. A Saudi official told Motegi he was hopeful Japanese technology could be used.
Read the rest of the story: Japan offers nuclear help to Saudi to free up oil.
Japan and Saudi Arabia will sign an agreement this weekend that will allow Tokyo to make emergency requests for additional supplies of crude oil, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported in its Friday edition.
The agreement would set up a telephone hotline between the
two governments to allow Japan to quickly seek additional oil supplies in the event of extraordinary circumstances such as terrorist attacks, unrest in the Middle East or a spike in the price of oil.
Japan opted to seek the supply deal because Saudi Arabia’s
crude oil exports are set to decline, the Nikkei report said.
Although the kingdom retains significant spare crude oil
production capacity, its crude oil exports are falling due to growing domestic oil demand and plans to expand Saudi oil
refineries to export more refined products.
“If true, it shows how nervous importers are due to the
fragility in the Middle Eastern situation, particularly Asian buyers,” said Amrita Sen of oil consultancy Energy Aspects.
Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu
Motegi will travel to Saudi Arabia on Saturday to sign the pact,Nikkei said. He will later visit other Middle Eastern oil exporters, including the United Arab Emirates.
Read the rest of the story: UPDATE 1-Japan, Saudi to sign emergency oil supply pact.