TOKYO -- Japan's industry ministry plans to help the Association of Southeast Asian Nations introduce oil reserve systems like Japan's, hoping to create a more favorable environment for Japanese companies expanding into the region.
The International Energy Agency requires its member countries, largely industrialized nations, to stockpile at least 90 days' worth of oil for coordinated release on the market in case of an emergency. Japan keeps its state reserves at 10 sites across the country and requires private-sector companies to maintain stockpiles as well. It has released its reserves during the Gulf War and U.S. hurricanes.
ASEAN countries do not belong to the IEA. Thailand's reserve system falls short of IEA standards, while Myanmar and Cambodia have nothing in place at all.
Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will begin talks with Myanmar this fiscal year on starting an oil reserve program. The ministry will offer advice on building oil storage stations and know-how on releasing the stockpile in emergencies. Beforehand, it plans to invite representatives from ASEAN countries to Japan as early as June to familiarize them with Japan's reserve system.
Tokyo plans to offer this proposal at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting to be held in Kitakyushu Thursday.
Oil demand in the ASEAN countries is projected to rise from 4.4 million barrels a day now to 6.8 million barrels a day by 2035, according to the IEA. A disruption of supply due to an emergency could deal a heavy blow to production.