Japan oil refiners to tap reserves in case of Middle East disruption

Japan oil refiners to tap reserves in case of Middle East disruption

The head of the industry group said Japanese oil refiners see no immediate impact from escalating tensions in the Middle East on their crude procurement but will use the country's reserves in case of contingencies to ensure stable oil supplies.

Japanese oil refiners, led by PAJ's Shunichi Kito, are prepared for potential Middle East supply disruptions. While exploring alternative sources like West Africa and North America, adapting refineries poses a challenge due to their reliance on Middle Eastern crude.

"We don't believe that there are any obstacles to the procurement of crude oil to Japan for now," Shunichi Kito, the president of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ), told a news conference when asked about the impact of the Iranian counterattack on Israel and Israel's attack on Iran.

Kito acknowledged that escalating the conflict and affecting the broader Middle East would pose a serious problem. "In case of any disruption in crude oil supply, it is important to

be prepared by making flexible use of the oil reserve to ensure that the oil supply will not be disrupted," he said, noting Japan's public and private sectors have a combined 240-day oil reserve.

Oil prices have softened so far this week as the Iranian attack on Israel proved less disruptive than anticipated. Japan relies heavily on Middle Eastern crude, importing over 95% of its oil from the region.

Kito, who is also the president of Japan's No.2 oil refiner, Idemitsu Kosan, said his company is considering substituting some Middle Eastern supply with other sources.

"As alternative sources, we are considering crude from West Africa and North America, if they can be transported and processed smoothly in our refineries," he said.

But he noted that most Japanese refineries are designed to process crude from the Middle East, and it would not be easy to switch to new supplies as they may not fit with their facilities.

Source: japantoday.com
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