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MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency - 26/12/2007

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(MENAFN - Saudi Press Agency) A senior official of Saudi Aramco has said the Saudi-Japanese energy relationship is enormously important - not only for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Japan, but also for the entire world.

"Japan is the world's second largest economy, a technological powerhouse, home to some of the planet's leading companies in a wide variety of industries, and a primary driver of what many international observers are calling the 'Asian century," said Saudi Aramco vice president of Marketing and Supply Planning, Adil A. Al-Tubayyeb, who recently ended an important visit to Japan, where he met with Saudi Aramco customers and partners in addition to key figures in the Japanese energy sector.

"The economic power of Japan coupled with Saudi Arabia's position in the energy picture through its national petroleum enterprise, Saudi Aramco, make it clear that the relationships between our countries and among our companies are a matter of tremendous significance," he said in a report carried by Saudi Aramco's web-site.

Al-Tubayyeb addressed issues relevant to Japan, which is the second largest economy in the world and receives 30 percent of its energy supplies through Saudi Aramco - about 1.2 million barrels per day of crude oil, in addition to LPG, naphtha and condensates.

He visited the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Public Policy, where he answered to questions raised by its students. He explained to them the mechanisms of the oil market and price drivers.

He said the abundant supply of conventional oil resources will provide sustainable energy for a long time. "The amount of conventional oil-in-place worldwide is estimated at between 6 and 8 trillion barrels," he said. "The world does not have to worry about (peak oil) for many decades to come."

But he also stressed the importance of balancing energy consumption with environmental concerns. "We must balance the need for energy with the imperative to protect our planet and preserve its delicate natural ecosystems," he said.

Al-Tubayyeb told the students Saudi Aramco, its counterparts in the Japanese oil industry and the rest of the world are hard at work developing solutions to these and other challenges. "The vital nature of your role is why I felt it was so important to address this audience and why I consider it such a privilege to have the opportunity to be here."

Al-Tubayyeb stressed Saudi Aramco's commitment to being a reliable long-term supplier of energy, stressing the importance of cooperation between producers and consumers, and the need to move beyond words to serious actions that would reassure both sides of the supply-demand equation.
In another stop, Al-Tubayyeb told the Japanese Committee for Energy Policy Promotion that suppliers could look to Saudi Aramco as an example of how to meet long-term energy demand growth.

"First there is our stepped-up exploration program, which is locating additional quantities of crude oil and natural gas," he said. "Despite the fact that we manage nearly 260 billion barrels of crude oil, we continue to actively search for more resources to meet global demand for many decades to come, and our efforts are being met with success back in the deserts of Arabia."

Saudi Aramco's vision for the vital Japanese relationship was expressed as Al-Tubayyeb stressed the need for more investments in both upstream and downstream projects. He said that while the company appreciates its current business in Japan, other potential areas of cooperation and development should be explored, particularly in the energy industry, such as power generation, a relationship that he called "long overdue.

In another roundtable discussion, Al-Tubayyeb told Japan's next generation of business leaders: "We have well-established and solid relationships with Japanese petroleum companies, petrochemical firms like Sumitomo Chemical, and world-class engineering enterprises like JGC and Chiyoda. Some of you, such as the large power-generation and town gas companies, have no direct business with us at the moment but could be involved in our total energy business in the future and are nevertheless important partners in this energy dialogue today."

Al-Tubayyeb also explored areas in which Saudi Aramco could serve its customers in Japan better, while encouraging the Japanese business community to invest more in Saudi Arabia, particularly in advanced technologies and manufacturing.

In an interview, Al-Tubayyeb said the Japanese market is one of the most important markets for Saudi Aramco and its relations with the Japanese energy industry are multi-layered.

"We are suppliers, partners and shareholders in major projects, both in Japan and in Saudi Arabia," he said.

On the Research and Development front, Al-Tubayyeb asked the young generation of leaders to consider "joint efforts with Nippon Oil, the Japan Cooperation Center - Petroleum, and the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals to develop a revolutionary high-severity fluid catalytic cracking refining design that opens new possibilities for integrated refining and petrochemical complexes."

While in Tokyo, Al-Tubayyeb had also received an invitation to pay a courtesy visit to the Japanese minister for Economy, Energy and Industry, Akira Amari. The two exchanged ideas about Saudi Aramco's relationship with the Japanese oil industry and the purpose of his visit to Japan.


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