Japan’s new Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Toshimitsu Motegi, visited Riyadh on 9 February, where he met with Saudi Assistant Minister of Petroleum Affairs, Prince ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Salman ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz. MEES learns that Japanese media reports of a Saudi-Japanese deal to commit to an emergency supply deal in case of market disruption, including the establishment of a telephone hotline, are exaggerated.

This was more ‘a get-to-know’ you meeting – Japan’s new LDP government was only elected in December. But what is not in doubt is the importance and durability of the Saudi-Japanese energy relationship. Saudi Arabia has been Japan’s top crude supplier consistently for years – providing 31% of oil imports in 2012. For its part, Japan has been a dream customer, finding a home for between 11.5-13.5% of Saudi well-head output since 2007, according to MEES calculations. The next day, Mr Motegi flew into the UAE, Japan’s number two supplier, signing a $3bn loan to state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to help finance development of the UAE’s oil sector (see p5). (CONTINUED - 931 WORDS)