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Japan to sell part of national oil reserves by advancing crude grade replacement plans


Looking to sell 'a couple of hundred thousand kl' via tender: METI minister

Japan holds 285.9 million barrels crude in national oil reserves

Japan will sell part of the country's national petroleum reserves in a joint effort with the US and other countries to stabilize crude oil prices, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Nov. 24.

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Japan's sales of national petroleum reserves will be made by advancing its planned sales of crude oil grades for replacement in the national petroleum reserves without violating the country's petroleum stockpiling law, Matsuno said.

"Stabilizing the crude oil price is an important factor for realizing economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic," Matsuno told a press conference. "We are advancing our planned sales of crude grades for replacement by taking into account situations such as high crude oil price and cooperation with the US."

Speaking to reporters later Nov. 24, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda said that Japan's planned sales of national oil reserves to be about "a couple of hundred thousand kiloliters," declining to elaborate further details on exact sales volumes and its expected tender.

Japan has been replacing medium and heavy crude oil stocks in the national petroleum reserves with lighter grades in recent years to reflect growing domestic demand for lighter oil products.

The Japanese announcement came after the White House announced Nov. 23 that the US will release 50 million barrels from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of a unified effort with several other major oil-consuming countries to rein in high fuel prices.

Japan held a total of 485.5 million barrels of petroleum reserves at the end of September, equating 242 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.

Crude oil stocks in the national oil reserves accounted for 285.9 million barrels of the total, and oil products in the national reserves another 8.99 million barrels.

Privately held crude reserves totaled 71.8 million barrels, with privately-held oil product stocks at 106.2 million barrels, while 12.6 million barrels were held by Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi in Japan.