TOKYO Dec 27 Japan's top oil refiner Nippon Oil Corp 5001.T has become the first Japanese company to sign a contract with New Zealand, which would give the country the option to purchase petroleum in the event of an emergency, the company said on Thursday.
New Zealand said last week it had secured additional oil supplies via tender to meet its emergency reserves target set by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for next year.
Additional reserves secured in Australia, Japan and the Netherlands through tenders are held under ticket contracts to meet the IEA obligation to hold 90 days in stock, New Zealand says. It said last week the tickets are for 285,000 tonnes of crude oil, petrol and diesel for 2008 and cost $5 million.
Nippon Oil said it sold an option for 115,740 tonnes of Middle East sour Oman crude for 2008.
New Zealand already held tickets for 2008, secured last year, amounting to 170,000 tonnes of petrol and diesel.
New Zealand's 90 days reserves total for next year is 1.2 million tonnes, down 14 percent on 2007 because of increased domestic production from the Pohokura and Tui fields.
Agreements with Australia, Japan, Britain and the Netherlands allow New Zealand to acquire supplies through the ticket system and for host governments not to impede the release of stocks in the event of an emergency. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori)