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Japan would be hard placed to follow in the EU’s footsteps and embargo Russian oil and oil products, the country’s economy, trade, and industry minister Koichi Haguida said today, as quoted by Reuters.
The comments come after the U.S. president said he would discuss further sanction pressure on Russia with fellow G7 members. The U.S. itself banned all Russian oil and refined product imports last month.
Earlier this week, the European Union’s executive arm, the European Commission, proposed a gradual six-month phase-out of Russian oil imports, with the deadline for refined products set for the end of the year.
"Given Japan has its limit on resources, we would face some difficulty to keep in step immediately," Haguida told media on the sidelines of a visit to the United States, where he asked Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm for a boost in U.S. LNG deliveries to Japan.
According to Reuters, Russian oil accounts for just 4 percent of Japan’s total oil imports. In this context, Haguida’s comment basically suggests Japan cannot find an alternative supplier for those 4 percent, at least not quickly. To compare, the EU imports about 26 percent of its crude oil from Russia.
Earlier this year, amid the mass exodus of Western businesses from Russia, Japan said it was not going to quit oil and gas projects in the country where it is a minority shareholder.
Japan is a shareholder in the Arctic LNG 2 project of Novatek as well as the Sakhalin 2 LNG project, which Shell exited earlier this year. The country is also involved in the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 oil projects.
“We are concerned that if Japan withdraws from the project and the concessions are acquired by Russia or a third country, it could further boost resource prices and benefit Russia, which will not result in effective sanctions,” minister Hagiuda said in April.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.