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Japan sets up oil product stocks

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced plans to set up a strategic refined products stockpile, starting with one or more light and middle distillates, in 2009. Initial volumes will be equivalent to one day’s consumption of each of the products chosen. Japan, a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), currently holds only crude in its strategic reserves. As the world’s third-largest oil consumer behind the U.S. and China, Japan had 50.85 million kiloliters (kl) or 319.84 million barrels of crude stocks, equivalent to 98 days consumption, as strategic inventory by the end of October 2008. The private sector held another 41.96 million kl or 85 days of oil stocks, comprising 22.75 million kl of refined products and 20.22 million kl of crude. Japan thought of stockpiling refined products in April 2006, months after Hurricane Katrina destroyed production and refining facilities in the U.S. Gulf in August 2005. METI’s priority products for emergency stockpiling are gasoline, gasoil, kerosene and A-fuel oil, a blend of gasoil and fuel oil in a 90:10 ratio. (April 13, 2009)