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Japan to contribute 15m barrels from oil reserves to IEA efforts

Member countries coordinate release of 120m barrels to stabilize energy market

Japan has decided to release an additional 15 million barrels from its oil reserves in a coordinated effort by members of the International Energy Agency to stabilize the global energy market amid Russia's war in Ukraine.   © Kyodo

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan will release an additional 15 million barrels of oil reserves in a coordinated effort by members of the International Energy Agency to stabilize the market amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the government said Thursday.

The release, tapping both private and state reserves, will be one of the largest by the country. The IEA, consisting of 31 members, is moving ahead with a collective oil stock release of 120 million barrels, led by the United States.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan's contribution is the second largest after 60 million barrels from the United States.

"Japan will do what it can ahead of schedule," Kishida told reporters.

Japan had committed earlier to releasing 7.5 million barrels, equivalent to about four days of domestic consumption.

As of late January, Japan held oil stockpiles capable of covering 146 days in state reserves and 87 days in private reserves. It also had reserves for three more days in cooperation with oil-producing countries.

The IEA agreed at an extraordinary ministerial meeting earlier this month that the additional release was necessary to stabilize the global energy market.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol tweeted Wednesday that the joint release includes 60 million barrels contributed by the United States as part of its overall draw from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve and that more details of specific contributions from member countries would be announced soon.

The move marks the second coordinated oil stock release by the Paris-based agency since Moscow's invasion began on Feb. 24. IEA member countries had previously pledged to tap a total of 62.7 million barrels in March.

In late March, Washington announced plans for its largest-ever release of emergency oil reserves, totaling 180 million barrels over six months. The amount includes the 60 million barrels to be contributed to the IEA coordinated action, according to local media reports.

The latest IEA release will be the fifth collective action to tap emergency stocks, following measures taken in 1991, 2005, 2011 and on March 1, 2022, according to the agency.

IEA members have said that Russia, the world's third-largest oil producer and a major petroleum products exporters, plays an outsized role on the global energy market and continues to put significant strains on it, resulting in heightened price volatility.

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