Japan expects to release 7.5 million barrels of oil from privately held reserves, as part of its contribution to the International Energy Agency's coordinated release of a total 60 million barrels of oil to calm crude oil prices rattled by Russia's military invasion of Ukraine, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda said March 4.
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"Regarding the IEA's 60 million barrels joint oil reserves release, we expect to release 7.5 million barrels from the private reserves, the scale just after the US," Hagiuda told reporters, adding that Japan will continue its efforts to ask for a production hike from producers together with other consuming countries.
Japan's planned release of 7.5 million barrels equates to 12.5% of the total 60 million barrels. The timing of the release was not immediately clear, as well as the breakdown of the type of oil, such as crude or refined products.
Following an extraordinary meeting with its 31 member countries March 1, the IEA said an "initial" release of 60 million barrels is equivalent to 2 million b/d for 30 days, or 4% of the IEA members' current emergency oil stockpiles.
The US government said separately that it will proceed with half of the total release, or 30 million barrels, from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, under the coordinated IEA action.
The IEA will decide on details such as the timing of the total 60 million barrels oil release as well as its allocation by each country in a speedy manner, a METI official said March 2.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol flagged the potential for further emergency oil stock releases March 3 after calling a decision by OPEC+ to stick to its planned 400,000 b/d production rise for April "disappointing."
OPEC and its allies March 2 agreed to rubber-stamp a modest 400,000 b/d output increase for April, despite the market's growing aversion to Russian oil.
Japan plans to sell an additional 260,000 kiloliters, or 1.64 million barrels, of Khafji and Hout crude from its national petroleum reserves via public tenders in March, METI said Feb. 16, as part of its joint efforts with the US and other countries to stabilize oil prices.
Once all the Khafji and Hout crude produced in the Saudi Arabia-Kuwait Neutral Zone is sold in the next tenders, Japan will sell a total of around 360,000 kiloliters, or 2.26 million barrels, of crude from its national petroleum reserves.
In tenders scheduled to take place March 9, Japan will offer up to two shipments of Khafji crude, amounting to around 150,000 kiloliters, or 943,470 barrels, from ENEOS' Kiire oil terminal in the southwest for delivery April 20-July 31, METI said.
The country will also offer in a separate tender one shipment of 110,000 kiloliters, or 691,878 barrels, of Hout crude from the Tomakomai-Tobu national oil storage terminal in northern Japan for delivery April 20-Aug. 20, METI said.
Japan's latest planned crude sales from the national reserves came just a week after it sold about 100,000 kiloliters, or 629,000 barrels, of Oman crude from the reserves via a Feb. 9 public tender.
Japan's sales of national petroleum reserves was made by advancing its planned sales of crude for replacement in the national petroleum reserves without violating the country's petroleum stockpiling law.
In recent years, Japan has been replacing medium and heavy crude stocks in the national petroleum reserves with lighter grades, reflecting the growing domestic demand for lighter oil products.
At the end of December 2021, Japan held a total of around 484 million barrels of petroleum reserves, equating to 241 days of domestic consumption, comprising national petroleum reserves, oil reserves held by the private sector and a joint crude oil storage scheme with Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, according to the latest METI data released Feb. 15.
Crude stocks in the national oil reserves accounted for 285.99 million barrels of the total, while oil products in the national reserves another 8.99 million barrels. Privately held crude reserves totaled 78.30 million barrels, with oil product stocks at 102.90 million barrels, while 7.79 million barrels were held by Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi in Japan.