• Kyodo

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Japan has secured the consent of the United Arab Emirates to extend oil rights for an offshore oil field for 15 years beyond their expiration in 2026, Japanese officials said.

The agreement on the Upper Zakum Field, owned by one of the group companies of Inpex Corp., was reached during talks Monday between Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The United Arab Emirates is the second-largest crude oil supplier to resource-scarce Japan, after Saudi Arabia. Of Japan’s imports of oil produced at overseas fields in which Japanese companies have rights, 40 percent is produced off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

The extension of the oil rights through 2041 for one of the fields is significant for Japan as it will help the country supply energy to its economy in a stable manner, Motegi told a news conference after the meeting with the prince.

The agreement comes as Japan’s demand for fossil fuels is increasing amid the nationwide reactor shutdown resulting from the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Only reactors that have cleared a set of new safety requirements introduced last year will be allowed to resume operations.

Motegi also visited Abu Dhabi last February to push for the renewal of Japanese companies’ offshore oil rights in the Middle Eastern country.

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