(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Japan's crude oil imports from Kuwait fell 17.7 % in September from a year earlier to 7.89 million barrels, or 263,000 barrels per day (bpd), for the first decline in two months, the government said here on Wednesday.
As Japan's fourth-biggest oil provider in September, Kuwait supplied 7.3% of the Asian nation's total crude imports, compared with 8.9 % in the same month of last year, the Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency said in a preliminary report. Japan's overall imports of crude oil edged down 0.4% year-on-year to 3.59 million bpd for the first decrease in two months.
Shipments from the Middle East accounted for 88.4 percent of the total, down 0.6 percentage points from a year before.
Saudi Arabia remained in the top spot, although imports from the kingdom fell 7.2% from a year earlier to 1.12 million bpd, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 853,000 bpd, up 1.5%. Qatar ranked third, with shipments surging 60.8% to 499,000 bpd.
Although the Japanese government provides insurance for tankers carrying Iranian crude bound for Japan, imports from Iran plunged 36.1% last month to 187,000 bpd to rank fifth.
The special measure enables the world's No.3 oil consumer to continue importing Iranian oil even after new European Union (EU) sanctions against Iran starting from July, which ban insurance firms of EU countries from covering Iran's exports. Japan has also secured a waiver from US financial sanctions against Iran in return for cutting its imports of Iranian crude oil.
Resources-poor Japan relies on crude oil imports for about 50% of its energy needs. Shipments of direct-deal, which prices are based on the average spot price of Dubai crude, the benchmark for Asia, account for about 80% of Japan's crude imports.