TOKYO, April 24 (Reuters) - Japan’s top oil refiner JXTG Holdings on Tuesday said that Tsutomu Sugimori, head of its downstream refining unit, would become the company’s next president.
Current JXTG Holdings President Yukio Uchida is to become chairman, the company said in a statement, with the changes taking effect following an annual shareholders meeting in late June.
Faced with a continued decline in domestic oil demand, one of the company’s top challenges is to balance its 1.93 million barrels per day worth of refining capacity with demand.
Sugimori, 62, said following a media briefing that there had been some progress in compiling plans for consolidating the company’s domestic refineries and other plants, but added that the steps would likely be announced one by one.
He added that it was possible such announcements could come this year.
Downstream refining unit JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corp recently struck a deal with Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) to work on a feasibility study to co-operate JXTG’s 120,000-bpd Marifu refinery.
Sugimori said Petrolimex wants its own refinery because of a lack of supply capacity in Vietnam where demand is growing rapidly. The study into exporting oil products from Marifu came after Petrolimex and JXTG concluded that for now it would be difficult to build a new refinery in Vietnam, he said.
“If the Marifu refinery became a 50-50 venture, half of the refinery would belong to Petrolimex with half of volumes exported and that would help us to reduce our supply capacity as well,” he told reporters.
Asked whether if it makes economic sense for Vietnam to import oil products from Japan, he said that there is a tariff barrier, which would need to be taken into account. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori Editing by Joseph Radford)