Japan’s crude oil imports from Kuwait jumped 24.0 percent in May from a year earlier to 10.42 million barrels for the fourth straight month of expansion, according to the report released Monday by the government agency.
Japan is Kuwait’s largest oil buyer.
Kuwait provided 8.2 percent of nation’s crude oil in the reporting month, compared with 7.7 percent in the same month of last year and 10.8 percent in April this year, the Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency, a unit of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, said in a preliminary report.
Japan’s overall imports of crude oil in May grew 16.3 percent year-on-year to 127.67 million barrels, the second straight monthly increase, with shipments from the Middle East rising 15.0 percent year-on-year to 113.44 million barrels. Imports from the region accounted for 88.9 percent of the total, down 1.0 percentage points from the year before.
Saudi Arabia remained Japan’s biggest oil supplier, and imports from the country rose 21.3 percent from a year earlier to 38.11 million barrels, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 29.57 million barrels, up 3.7 percent. Iran became third, with imports soaring 46.5 percent to 14.65 million barrels. Qatar ranked fourth with 12.91 million barrels, down 0.2 percent. Meanwhile, Iraq exported 3.32 million barrels to Japan.
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. Japan 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 spot market price of Dubai crude, the benchmark for Asia, account for about 80 percent of Japan’s crude imports.