Arab Countries Provided 73.8%, Iran 8.6% of Japan's Oil Imports in December 2011

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Saudi Arabia remained the biggest oil supplier to Japan in December 2011, exporting 33.71 million barrels, or 28.1% of Japan's total imports, according to figures from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Tokyo.

The United Arab Emirates followed in the second place with 27.55 million barrels, or 22.9% of Japan's crude imports in the same month.

Qatar, another Arab country, came third with 14 million barrels or 11.7% of total Japanese imports in December. Kuwait came fifth with 9.26 million barrels (7.7%) making with Qatar a notable increase of imports compare to previous months, METI official said. Russia followed with 6.27 million barrels (5.2%).

Iran supplied 8.6% of total Japanese crude oil imports, METI said noting that refiners and trading companies imported 10.28 million barrels of crude oil from that country in December which puts Iran in the 4th place in the list of crude providers to Japan.

Japan has been under pressure from the United States to cut its oil imports from Tehran as a new U.S. law bans foreign financial institutions found to have done business with Iran's central bank, which clears oil transactions, from operating in the United States. The law also says the United States could grant a country an exemption from the ban if it has ''significantly reduced its volume of crude oil purchases from Iran.''

Tokyo asked Washington to exempt Japanese banks from new U.S. sanctions, and showed concrete figures about past reductions in the country's imports of Iranian crude oil and future curtailments. Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba indicated Friday that his country may be granted some waivers from the U.S.-led sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program in exchange for promising to cut its Iranian oil imports.

Japan's total crude oil imports in December fell 5.4 percent from a year earlier to 120.01 million barrels.

Arab countries, including Oman and the Saudi-Kuwaiti Neutral Zone, supplied 88.559 million barrels or 73.8% of total Japanese crude imports in December. In that month, Japan didn’t import crude oil from Libya or Yemen, METI officials told PanOrient News noting that South Sudan provided 896.937 barrels which amount to less than 1% of the total imports.

Crude imports form the Middle East amounted to 99.73 million barrels, or 83.1% of total imports in January, METI data showed.

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