Kuwait, Japan plan new energy cooperation

TOKYO: Japanese Emperor Akihito (third right), accompanied by Empress Michiko, walks with HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (second left) ahead of their talks at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The Amir is on a four-day visit to Japan as a state guest.

TOKYO: Kuwaiti Oil Minister Hani Hussein and a top official of Arabian Oil Company, Ltd., on Tuesday agreed to explore new energy cooperation between the two countries.

Speaking after his talks with Arabian Oil, represented by Director Kuniyasu Takeda, Hussein said the two sides discussed prospects of future cooperation, with an eye to launching new projects, particularly in technical and service areas.

“We will wait for the Japanese side to offer a proposal, then, we will start discussion on their proposal,” he said. The minister also said Kuwait and Japan have enjoyed longstanding close relations in the field of energy, noting that Japan is a top buyer of Kuwaiti oil, with purchasing of around half million barrels of oil, petroleum products, and gas per day.

He also underscored that state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) established its Tokyo office in 1968 as its first regional marketing office. In addition, he attached great significance to the ongoing joint project in Vietnam between Kuwait and Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan Co. and Mitsui Chemicals Inc. to build a refinery and petrochemical complex.

For his part, Takeda said, “I proposed to the minister that the two countries will jointly launch new energy projects, and he welcomed the idea. We will start to draw up the plan to present.” The Kuwaiti government granted a concession to Arabian Oil Company in 1958 to explore and develop hydrocarbon reserves in the offshore Divided Zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which resulted in discovery of the massive Khafji oil field in 1960.

When the concession agreement expired in January 2003, Arabian Oil continued to participate in oil field operations in the offshore Partitioned Neutral Zone under a five-year technical services agreement with Kuwait. The contract expired in January 2008, but Arabian Oil still holds a 20-year crude oil purchasing agreement, which went into effect in January 2003.

The meeting between Oil Minister and Takeda was also attended by Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi and Japanese Ambassador to Kuwait Yasuyoshi Komizo and senior officials from Arabian Oil and Japan-Kuwait Society members.

Takeda, who also serves as Japan-Kuwait Society Chairman, met His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah earlier in the day, said he thanked the Amir for the generous donation of 5 million barrels of crude oil to Japan to relieve the suffering from last March’s massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami