TOKYO: With the world transitioning to new energy sources, relations with Japan are being strengthened, as the research department of the Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security conducted joint workshops with KAPSARC, an energy think tank in Saudi Arabia, last summer.

In an interview with Arab News Japan, Toyoda Kohei, of JOGMEC’s Energy Research Division, outlined the unit’s main projects.

Toyoda said one of the most important businesses between Saudi Arabia and Japan is a petrochemical project in Petro Rabigh. Saudi Aramco and Sumitomo Chemical have been supplying petroleum and petrochemical products in partnership since 2005.

In addition, engineering companies have entered the market, and recently, tourism and entertainment companies have entered the market in Saudi Arabia, where many mega-projects are planned.

In the energy field, Japan and Saudi Arabia are carrying out joint oil stockpiling projects. “It is a project in which Japan lends private oil tanks to Saudi Aramco and gives priority to Japanese companies in case of emergency,” Toyoda said.

“JOGMEC is also involved as one of the implementers.

“This project contributes to both Japan’s energy security and Saudi Aramco’s oil sales in Asia. In addition, JOGMEC has been conducting technical training. So far, we have received eight people from Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia is Japan’s largest source of crude oil, but the two countries have been making progress in a variety of energy fields, especially energy transitions.

“Saudi Arabia has abundant resources in the country, and Japan, on the contrary, has few resources,” Toyoda said.

“Although our positions are completely different, fossil fuels are important for both countries. They are important in the sense of utilizing resources in Saudi Arabia. For Japan, fossil fuels are indispensable in the sense of a stable supply of energy.”

He said that Japan and Saudi Arabia have shared their vision in the sense that energy transition is not to shift totally to renewable energy, but to pursue a realistic and viable energy transition in the future.

Some Japanese companies have been working on renewable energy projects for a long time and have been using hydrogen ammonia. Japan and Saudi Arabia are expected to make progress in terms of energy transition.

“For Japan, the Middle East is an oil supply area and has been regarded as important,” Toyoda said. “In this sense, in addition to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait, or, in the natural gas trade, Qatar, the entire Arab region has been regarded as important.

“In the past, private companies have tried to invest in Arab countries in sectors other than energy, but the scale of investment is still limited. The focus is on oil production and oil exports, but other than that, we are trying to expand our relationship.”

In the energy field, Japan and Saudi Arabia are carrying out joint oil stockpiling projects. (ANJ)

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