Japan To Sell Hout Crude From National Reserves To Stabilize Oil Prices

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  • National oil reserves sales to amount 4.15 mil barrels
  • Japan starts releasing 7.5 mil barrels as part of IEA joint efforts

Japan plans to sell an additional 300,000 kiloliters, or 1.89 million barrels, of Hout crude from its national petroleum reserves via a public tender in April, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry said March 16, the last sale in its joint efforts with the US and other countries to stabilize oil prices, says an article published in S&P Global.

Latest tender schedule

In its latest tender scheduled April 8, Japan will offer up to three shipments of Hout crude from the Shirashima national oil reserves terminal in Kita Kyushu City in the southwest for delivery over May 20-Aug. 31, METI said.

Following the upcoming sale of Hout crude produced in the Saudi Arabia-Kuwait Neutral Zone, Japan’s crude sales from the national oil reserves would amount to a total of around 660,000 kiloliters, or 4.15 million barrels.

Japan on March 9 sold 260,000 kiloliters, or 1.64 million barrels, of Khafji and Hout crudes produced in the Neutral Zone from its national petroleum reserves via public tenders after selling about 100,000 kiloliters, or 629,000 barrels, of Oman crude from the reserves via a Feb. 9 public tender.

Compliance with country’s petroleum stockpiling law

Japan’s serialized sales of national petroleum reserves was made by advancing its planned sales of crude for replacement in the national reserves without violating the country’s petroleum stockpiling law.

In recent years, the country has been replacing medium and heavy crude stocks in the national petroleum reserves with lighter grades, reflecting the growing domestic demand for such products.

IEA release

Japan’s additional crude sales come after it started releasing barrels of oil from privately-held petroleum reserves March 10 — part of its contribution to the International Energy Agency’s coordinated release of around 60 million barrels to aid oil prices rattled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Japan is releasing 7.5 million barrels of crude and oil products, which equates to four days of mandatory stockpile volumes, by allowing local refiners and oil products importers to lower their stockpiles in the privately-held reserves by four days during 30 days to April 8.

Second largest reserve

Japan’s planned release equates to 12.5% of the worldwide total, and it is the second-largest after the US’ release of 30 million barrels from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve under the joint IEA action.

At end-January, Japan held a total of around 473.05 million barrels of petroleum reserves, equating to 236 days of domestic consumption, comprising national petroleum reserves, oil reserves held by the private sector, and a joint crude oil storage program with oil-producing countries, according to the latest METI data released March 15.

Crude stocks in the national oil reserves accounted for 285.99 million barrels of the total, while oil products in the national reserves comprised another 8.99 million barrels.

Privately-held crude reserves totaled 74.03 million barrels, with oil products stocks at 97.74 million barrels, while 6.29 million barrels were held by oil producers in Japan.

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Source: S&P Global

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