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Japan’s oil refineries start recovery from quake

Idemitsu Kosan Co. announced that it has resumed maritime oil transportation to its storage facility in hard-hit Shiogama, Japan. A tanker was able to transport 1,050 kiloliters of gasoline, 470 kiloliters of kerosene and 490 kiloliters of gas oil to the Shiogama facility from the oil refinery in Chita. These oil products will be delivered to gas stations in Miyagi and other prefectures and the Self-Defense Forces units involved in relief efforts in areas affected by the Magnitude 9 earthquake. Serious shortages of gasoline and other oil products have been reported in the Tohoku northeastern region of Japan. JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. was able to restart its refinery, after suspending operations for a check-up of the refinery following the earthquake. The company produces kerosene, gas oil and gasoline, which will be shipped to the Kanto eastern region and Tohoku. Cosmo Oil Co. also reported that it has resumed shipping oil products to be used for emergency vehicles and has increased production, processing 80,000 barrels in total. Tonen General Sekiyu is also increasing production to meet oil demand in the Tohoku district. ExxonMobil Corp.’s Japanese refining unit has reopened its Shiogama oil terminal near the hard-hit area ahead of schedule and is allowing other refiners to use the terminal to help with shortages. Company President, Philippe Ducom said, “We want to make a difference in helping those affected by the disaster.” Kyokuto Petroleum Industry has also been able to restart its refineries. In addition, Japan is also making available part of the country’s reserve oil stocks of 10 million kiloliters of oil or 66 million barrels to help boost supplies. (March 21-22, 2011)