Japan’s Kishida to visit Middle East to talk energy markets, offer green tech

By Kentaro Sugiyama and Sakura Murakami

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to discuss energy markets on a trip to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar later this month, aiming to offer Japanese technologies for net zero transition, a senior official said.

Energy-poor Japan relies on Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, with Saudi Arabia and UAE among key OPEC members, for the most of its oil, while part of its liquefied natural gas needs – the world’s largest – is covered by Qatar.

Kishida will visit the three countries on July 16-19 as “it is very important to build a personal relationship of trust with the leaders responsible for each country for years to come”, a senior official at Japan’s foreign ministry said.

“Crude oil prices are high due to the situation in Ukraine, so it is a very important purpose to exchange views on the current oil market and LNG market,” the official, who declined to be named, told reporters. “It is very important to exchange views with these countries on stabilising the energy market.”

Japan is actively developing greener and renewable energy technologies as it wants to be carbon neutral by 2050, and Kishida will also try to promote Japanese know-how as energy-producing countries also have ambitious green targets.

“One of the achievements we expect from this visit is cooperation in the new energy field on environmentally friendly energy sources such as hydrogen and ammonia, while making use of Japan technologies, thereby further broadening cooperative relations in the energy field,” the official said.

In March, Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp agreed to study clean hydrogen production in Saudi Arabia together with the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, as Riyadh is looking to add other types of energy sources, including cleaner fuels and renewables, to diversify its oil-based economy.

(Reporting by Kentaro Sugiyama and Sakura Murakami; writing by Katya Golubkova; editing by Mark Heinrich)