In the face of growing market share competition from fellow Opec states such as Iran and Iraq, Abu Dhabi is seeking to strengthen ties with key crude buyers in Asia. In the first 9 months of 2016 Japan bought around one third of Emirati crude exports (800,000 b/d) and last week, Japanese state-backed oil firm Inpex announced it had increased its upstream presence in Abu Dhabi (MEES, 20 January).

Japan also extended Abu Dhabi state firm Adnoc’s license to store up to 6.29mn barrels of...