Kuwait’s Crude Oil Shipments to Japan Highest in 22-Months

Source: KUNA 8/31/2011, Location: Middle East

Kuwait's crude oil exports to Japan hit a 22-month high in July, surging 50.8 percent from a year earlier to 10.28 million barrels, or 332,000 barrels per day (bpd), for the second consecutive monthly increase, the Japanese government said Wednesday. Japan is Kuwait's largest oil buyer.

With the figure marking the highest since September 2009 when it reached 10.36 million barrels (345,000 bpd), Kuwait moved up to Japan's fourth-biggest crude supplier last month by overtaking Iran, the Natural Resources and Energy Agency said in a preliminary report. Kuwaiti share of Japan's total crude oil imports stood at 9.4 percent in July, compared with 6.1 percent in the same month of last year and 5.9 percent in June.

Japan's overall imports of crude oil fell 1.9 percent year-on-year to 3.51 million bpd down for the fifth straight month. Shipments from the Middle East rose 3.0 percent to 3.15 million bpd, and accounted for 89.9 percent of the total, up 4.3 percentage points from the year before.

Saudi Arabia remained Japan's top supplier, with imports from the kingdom jumping 36.5 percent from a year earlier to 1.18 million bpd, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 701,000 bpd, down 7.2 percent. Qatar ranked third, with shipments plunging 12.9 percent to 374,000 bpd. Iran became fifth with 302,000 bpd, down 34.4 percent. Resources-poor Japan is the world's third-largest oil consumer after China and the US, 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.


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