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Japanese refiners to get full October term Saudi crude nominations: PAJ chief

Tokyo — Japanese refiners will get their full Saudi Arabian term crude supply nominated for loading in October, despite recent attacks at oil facilities in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, Takashi Tsukioka, president of the Petroleum Association of Japan, said at a press conference Thursday.

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In a courtesy call Wednesday with Omar M. Amudi, representative director of Aramco Asia Japan, Tsukioka said he was assured that Saudi Aramco will supply Japanese refiners term supply volumes as nominated for October.

"I understand that all of Japanese refiners' orders based on term contracts for October [loadings] have been accepted," Tsukioka said at the press conference in Tokyo.

In the wake of the attacks, Tsukioka said that Japanese refiners had been most worried about the timing of resuming ship loadings.

"We would have been worried if that did not happen but ship loadings have been resumed including ours," said Tsukioka, who is also chairman of Japan's second largest refiner Idemitsu Kosan.

Saudi energy minister Prince Abudulaziz bin Salman said Tuesday that more than half of the 5.7 million b/d output lost after attacks on two oil facilities on Saturday are back online. He also said exports in September would be unaffected because oil stockpiles are being used.

Japan imported an average of 1.11 million b/d of crude from Saudi Arabia, the largest supplier, in the January-July period, accounting for about 36% of the total oil imports of 3.07 million b/d in the period, according to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry data.

Asked whether Japanese refiners would need to diversify their supply sources further following the attacks, Tsukioka said that Japanese refiners are keeping their options open for alternative crude procurements including from the US and Russia.

But he added such alternative imports would be based on economics and compatibility of crude grades at Japanese refineries, which are mostly configured to process sour crudes from the Middle East.

Related infographic: Attacks lay bare Saudi Arabia's oil vulnerability

-- Takeo Kumagai, takeo.kumagai@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Claudia Carpenter, claudia.carpenter@spglobal.com