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South Korea plans to release SPR in joint effort with US to cool oil prices

South Korea will release crude oil from its strategic petroleum reserve in a joint effort with the US to cool rising oil prices and tame consumer inflation, according to the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

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The South Korean government will join the US-led plan to release SPR, considering the need for international coordination to curb rising oil prices, as well as the importance of the South Korea-US alliance and partnership between major global economies, the ministries said in a joint statement Nov. 24.

However, the MOTIE and the foreign ministry did not provide specific details, including the timing and exact volume of the country's SPR to be released.

"The government will decide them [timing and volume] after consulting with the US," a senior official at the energy ministry said.

South Korea could possibly release about 4% of the country's SPR, equivalent to around 3.8 million barrels, as it did in the past, a source at the energy ministry told S&P Global Platts.

South Korea in 2011 released 3.467 million barrels from its SPR during the Libyan crisis, which accounted for about 4% of the state reserves at the time.

The country currently holds 96.01 million barrels of strategic reserves -- 82.43 million barrels of crude and 13.58 million barrels of oil products -- equivalent to around 106 days worth of domestic demand as recommended by the International Energy Agency, according to the energy ministry and state-run Korea National Oil Corp.