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Energy

Japan and Kuwait build 3m barrel oil reserve for Southeast Asia

Tanks on Japanese soil meant to keep companies running during supply disruption

Tanks at Japanese refiner Eneos' Kiire storage yard in southern Japan will be used as an oil reserve. (Photo courtesy of Eneos)

TOKYO -- Japan and Kuwait will create a joint petroleum reserve for energy-hungry Southeast Asia, which lacks sufficient buffers against oil supply instability.

Japan's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and the state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp. signed an agreement Tuesday on the project, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement.

For Japan, the roughly 500,000-kiloliter stockpile on its own soil will help ensure that the nation's companies operating in Southeast Asia keep their supply chains functioning during an oil supply disruption.

The reserve will contain about 3.14 million barrels, or roughly 1.5 days of Japanese petroleum consumption, according to METI. It will be housed at Japanese refiner Eneos' Kiire storage yard in southern Japan's Kagoshima Prefecture, in tanks loaned to Kuwait Petroleum.

In the event of terrorist attacks or other emergencies that disrupt the oil supply, Japan will have priority access to the reserve, which can be shared with Southeast Asian and other countries. The oil for the reserve is due to arrive from Kuwait by the end of March.

Southeast Asia's energy demand is forecast to continue rising, and, like Japan, the region relies heavily on Middle Eastern oil. Many Southeast Asian nations lack ample oil reserves, putting companies operating there at risk of interruption.

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