Kuwait’s crude oil exports to Japan fell 26.6 percent in August from a year earlier to 8.85 million barrels, or 285,000 barrels per day (bpd), for the second straight monthly decline, the government said Wednesday. Kuwait supplied 8.0 percent of nation’s crude oil in August, compared with 9.4 percent in the same month of last year and 4.6 percent in July, the Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency, a unit of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said in a preliminary report.

Japan is Kuwait’s largest oil buyer accounting for 20 percent of its total crude exports.

Japan’s overall imports of crude oil in the reporting month shrank 13.5 percent year-on-year to 110.82 million barrels (3.57 million bpd) for the 11 consecutive month of fall. Shipments from the Middle East went down 12.6 percent to 98.86 million barrels and accounted for 89.2 percent of the total, up 1.1 percentage points from a year before.

Saudi Arabia remained Japan’s biggest oil supplier, with imports from the kingdom edging down 2.1 percent from a year earlier to 30.80 million barrels, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 23.89 million barrels, down 21.5 percent. Qatar ranked third, with shipments shrinking 5.5 percent to 13.97 million barrels. Iran became fourth with 12.98 million barrels, down 24.4 percent.

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. The nation purchases oil through long-term contracts and direct-dealing transactions between its distributors and oil-producing nations. 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.

(KUNA  & Zawya)