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Qatar to provide Japan with 10-year naphtha supply under new agreement

The Japan-based entity has received what QatarEnergy described as “continuous and stable supplies of various grades” of naphtha from Doha since 1986. 

QatarEnergy is set to provide Japan’s Marubeni with a 10-year supply of naphtha under a new agreement signed on Tuesday, boosting the two countries’ long-term ties in the energy sector.

The Qatari state-owned energy company inked the deal on behalf of Qatar Petroleum for the Sale of Petroleum Products Company (QPSPP) in Tokyo with the attendance of QatarEnergy CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi.

Al-Kaabi, who also serves as Qatar’s minister of state for energy affairs, had also met with a number of Japanese energy officials during his working visit to the Asian country.

“This agreement further enhances the long-standing, strategic, and fruitful relationship between QatarEnergy and Marubeni Corporation, spanning several decades,” Al-Kaabi said in a press release.

Naphtha is derived from the distillation of crude oil and falls into different categories, though the generic term refers to a wide range of liquid mixtures of hydrocarbons. 

The new agreement stipulates that QatarEnergy would pump 1.2 million tonnes of naphtha to Marubeni on an annual basis starting from October, following the expiration of an initial five-year deal inked back in 2018.

“We are proud of the continued cooperation with our Japanese partners such as Marubeni Corporation, which reinforces Japan’s trust in Qatar as a reliable energy provider while further fostering cooperation between the two countries,” Al-Kaabi added.

Marubeni is among QatarEnergy’s most important partners in the sector and has played a major role in a number of key projects, most notably the Al-Kharsaah solar power plant and the Mesaieed power plant.

The Japan-based entity has received what QatarEnergy described as “continuous and stable supplies of various grades” of naphtha from Doha since 1986. 

Long-standing energy ties

The Asian nation itself is among a number of top Asian buyers of liquified natural gas (LNG) that share long-term contracts with Qatar.

Tokyo is also the largest LNG buyer on a global scale, importing 74,463,881 tonnes in 2020. 

Last year, Tokyo’s imports reached 71.99 million tonnes, overtaking China as one of the biggest importers of LNG.

Notably, Japan became Qatar’s first LNG customer in the late 1990s, when the Gulf country made its first sale and purchase agreement with Japan’s Chubu Electric for 4 tonnes of the gas per annum.

During his recent visit to Tokyo, the Qatari energy minister “high level discussions” with top energy partners, suggesting a potential expansion in the two countries’ long-standing ties in the sector.

“Al-Kaabi also held high level discussions with senior executives of major Japanese energy, power, and shipping companies and partners on existing and future energy cooperation,” QatarEnergy said in a press release.

Meanwhile in July, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio embarked on a regional tour that included Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, where the oil and gas industry was atop the meetings’ agenda.

“For many years, the stable supply of LNG and oil from Qatar has supported Japan’s economic growth, allowing Japan and Qatar to steadily develop a mutually beneficial relationship. Since the 1990s, Japanese companies have contributed to the full-scale construction of LNG plants in Qatar,” Kishida said at the time.

Riyadh had also hosted a joint meeting between Japan and the Gulf Cooperation Council on 7 September, which was widely seen at the time as an attempt by Tokyo to secure a stable energy supply. 

Currently, Japan is heavily dependent on crude oil from the GCC, which represents more than 90% of its supply.