Abu Dhabi is in talks to store its oil in Japan, the biggest importer of the emirate’s crude.
The Government’s concern with safeguarding both its major revenue stream and the continuity of oil supplies to its key customers may have increased with the rise of political tension in Iran, after the controversial presidential election. In a sign that Iranian unrest could spill over into the oil sector, Tehran this week removed a senior oil official, Akbar Torkan, from the position of deputy oil minister for planning. Mr Torkan, a former defence and transport minister, has close political ties with Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful cleric who has broken ranks with the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In January, Abu Dhabi granted a 20-year extension of an offshore oil concession to a Japanese consortium led by Cosmo Oil, a refining company in which IPIC holds a 20 per cent stake. In the same month, the UAE and Japan signed an agreement for peaceful nuclear co-operation.