Japan offers help for Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program in exchange for potential future oil (The Japan Daily Press, 11/02/2013)

Japan has offered help to Saudi Arabia in building nuclear power stations to free up more crude oil for exports and to meet the its rising internal electricity demand. However, Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi emphasized that Japan is not seeking a supply increase at this moment.

Motegi’s visit to Saudi Arabia on the weekend was to sign an agreement that would allow Japan to make emergency requests for supplies of crude oil under extraordinary circumstances. He met with Saudi Deputy Oil Minister Abdul Aziz Bin Salman bin Abdulaziz to further the relationship between the two countries, with Japan being one of the world’s biggest crude oil importers and Saudi Arabia being one of the biggest sources of crude oil. Saudi Arabia is planning to build up to 17 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity for the next twenty years to possibly save plant builders that have not been in demand since the Fukushima disaster.

Crude oil exports from Saudi Arabia accounted for 31% of Japan’s supply, increasing by 5% from 2011 to offset the cut to Iranian exports due to sanctions by the United Nations and the USA. The international oil market has been unstable due to the embargo on Iran because of its nuclear program and the ongoing tensions in the Middle East. But OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia has promised to provide its customers with a sufficient oil supply. They are the only country with enough spare oil production capacity to offset any disruptions in the global oil market.

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