The United Arab Emirates was Japan’s largest supplier of crude for 2nd consecutive month in June

The United Arab Emirates was the largest crude supplier to Japan for the 2nd consecutive month in June as the Asian importer continued to look for suppliers in the Middle East, Americas & other regions for replacing Iranian oil.

The United States sanctions waiver expiry on 2nd May for Iranian oil imports forced Japan to seek a vast variety of alternative supplies including from Ecuador, generating a need for procuring more light sour grades to blend with heavy grades from the South American producer.

Crude oil imports of Japan from the United Arab Emirates soared 75.6 percent year-on-year to 963,392 b/d in June, compelled by increased imports of its light, sour Murban crude, preliminary data released Tuesday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry reflected.

The United Arab Emirates’ Upper Zakum crude, as well as, the US’ Mars crude were amongst Japanese importers’ preferred grades for replacing Iranian barrels, according to sources with the importers.

Murban crude meanwhile can be employed as a blendstock with heavier crudes, like those from Ecuador, before being fed into a crude distillation unit, industry sources told.

Japan mainly purchased mostly Iranian Heavy crude from Iran before the end of the US sanctions waiver. Largest refiner JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy of Japan was a regular term lifter of Iran’s South Pars condensate before the United States sanctions waivers expired, according to industry sources.

From the Middle East, crude imports of Japan from Qatar, the 3rd largest supplier to Japan in June, also surged 78.6 percent year on year to 241,570 b/d in the month, compelled by increased imports of grades inclusive of Qatar Marine, which is amongst the grades cited by Japanese refiners to replace Iranian barrels.