Japan this week struck another oil storage deal with a Middle Eastern producer, this time with the UAE. The agreement will double the volume of Emirati oil stored at Kagoshima and comes just after Saudi Arabia signed a similar deal (MEES, 21 February).

The developments reflect Asia’s position as the most important energy demand growth market as US reliance on imported crude recedes. Spoiled for choice, Asian consumers, particularly China and South Korea, are not only sucking in volumes of both light grades and Middle Eastern sour grades, but also exerting greater influence on price benchmarks. (CONTINUED - 1935 WORDS)