Kuwait’s crude oil exports to Japan jumped 36.3 percent in February to 8.24 million barrels, or 284,000 barrels per day (bpd), for the first rise in two months, the government said Friday.

As Japan’s fifth-biggest oil provider, Kuwait supplied 7.4 percent of the country’s total crude imports, compared with 5.6 percent in February of 2011 and 5.2 percent last month, the Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency said in a preliminary report.

Japan’s overall imports of crude oil grew 2.7 percent year-on-year to 3.85 million bpd for the first expansion in four months. Shipments from the Middle East shrank 4.5 percent to 3.20 million bpd, and accounted for 83.2 percent of the total, down 6.3 percentage points from the year before.

Saudi Arabia remained Japan’s biggest oil supplier, although imports from the kingdom declined 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 1.13 million bpd, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 719,000 bpd, down 3.8 percent. Qatar ranked third with 462,000 bpd, up 12.4 percent, and Iran became fourth with 306,000 bpd, down 32.7 percent.

Resources-poor Japan is the world’s third-largest oil consumer after China and the US. The country is buying more fossil fuels to meet electricity demands as nearly all the 54 nuclear reactors have shut down following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident March 2011.

Source: kuwait news agency (Kuna)