Oil regulation—Japan—Q&A guide

The following Energy practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Oil regulation—Japan—Q&A guide
  • 1. Describe, in general terms, the key commercial aspects of the oil sector in your country.
  • 2. What percentage of your country’s energy needs is covered, directly or indirectly, by oil or gas as opposed to nuclear or non-conventional sources? What percentage of the petroleum product needs of your country is supplied with domestic production?
  • 3. Does your country have an overarching policy regarding oil-related activities or a general energy policy?
  • 4. Is there an official, publicly available register for licences and licensees? Is there a register setting out oilfield ownership or operatorship, etc?
  • 5. Describe the general legal system in your country.
  • 6. Describe the key laws and regulations that make up the principal legal framework regulating oil and gas activities.
  • 7. Are there any legislative provisions that allow for expropriation of a licensee’s interest and, if so, under what conditions?
  • 8. May the government revoke or amend a licensee’s interest?
  • 9. Identify and describe the government regulatory and oversight bodies principally responsible for regulating oil exploration and production activities in your country. What sanctions for breach may be imposed by the regulatory and oversight bodies?
  • More...

Oil regulation—Japan—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to oil regulation in Japan published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: June 2021).

Authors: TMI Associates—Kentaro Kubo

1. Describe, in general terms, the key commercial aspects of the oil sector in your country.

In Japan, very little crude oil is produced. For this reason, Japan is mostly dependent on oil imports as a source of primary energy. 

Although some small oilfields exist in Japan, the production volume is not large.

The amount of oil reserves in Japan was 78.5 million kilolitres at the end of 2020. These consist mainly of national and private stockpiles.


Industrial organisation of oil activities

Oil has been extracted mainly in Niigata prefecture from the beginning of the Meiji era, and commercial production of oil is now taking place offshore in Hokkaido, Akita and Niigata prefectures.

Currently, about 23 oil refineries are in operation in Japan. Oil companies import (a small portion is domestically produced) crude oil from overseas, and produce and supply oil products such as petrol, kerosene, light oil, heavy oil, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and petrochemical naphtha.

Refined oil products are delivered to consumers through oil tankers and refuelling stations using transportation means such as coastal tankers, tanker trucks, railway tanker wagons and pipelines. Transportation by tanker trucks and coastal tankers accounts for most of the

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