Japan Weighs Alternative Crude Supply without Transiting Strait of Hormuz
Monday, 24 Jun, 2019
In brief: Japan relies heavily on crude imports from the Middle East, which is why they have started weighing alternative crude supply sources that would not need to transit through the Strait of Hormuz.
Japanese refiners have started weighing alternative crude supply sources that would not need to transit through the Strait of Hormuz, including from the Red Sea side in Saudi Arabia, West Africa and the US, amid rising tensions in the region, Petroleum Association of Japan President Takashi Tsukioka said Friday.
Japan relies heavily on crude imports from the Middle East, most of which transit through the Strait of Hormuz.
PAJ and the refiners are also looking at how they can release strategic petroleum reserves most effectively in the event of an emergency, Tsukioka said at a press conference in Tokyo.
He said the topic of releasing petroleum reserves was part of discussions, including at PAJ's board meeting.
"Every [PAJ] member refiner is in consensus for considering releasing the stock where it will be most effective, or from where it can be released swiftly," Tsukioka said.
"Next we will likely consult the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, especially the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, on detailed procedures, but we have not reached that point as yet," he added.
US President Donald Trump Thursday called reports of Iran shooting down an unarmed, unmanned drone over the Gulf of Oman a "mistake" but offered little insight into what, if any, the US response would be as oil prices climbed on news of further provocation between the two nations.
Iranian officials claim the drone had crossed into its territory, while the US maintains it was in international airspace.
Two oil tankers were attacked last week just outside the Strait of Hormuz, with the US, the UK and Saudi Arabia blaming Iran. A similar attack off the eastern UAE port of Fujairah occurred a month earlier. Iran, which previously threatened to shut down traffic through the strait if US sanctions blocked its oil exports, has denied responsibility.