Saudi Aramco Eyeing Storage of Crude Oil in Okinawa

TOKYO (Nikkei), Nov. 25, 2009

Saudi Arabia Oil Co. will soon launch talks with the Japanese government on joint use of crude oil storage facilities in Okinawa, President and Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al-Falih told The Nikkei, the newspaper reported in its Thursday morning edition.

To ensure steady supplies of crude, the Japanese government has been proposing the joint use of the Okinawan infrastructure to the Saudi state-run firm, which is known as Saudi Aramco and is the world's largest oil company. Al-Falih will have discussions with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry during his visit to Japan and says an announcement will come "in due course."

With demand for crude soaring in China and elsewhere in Asia, "the goal is to have a commercially operated, administered operation that will make it more convenient for our customers in the region to utilize our supplies," said Al-Falih, who did not offer such specifics as a start date.

Japan's crude oil storage facilities have spare capacity because of slumping domestic demand. Through the facilities, Saudi Aramco would be able to quickly meet demand in China and other markets. The Japanese government would have priority access to the crude in emergencies.  

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