7 October 2005, 10:40  Japan to extend oil stockpile release measures

The government said Friday it will extend measures to release private-sector oil reserves for another 30 days to help ease global supply bottlenecks caused by recent hurricanes in the United States. Japan said in early September it would release 7.3 mln barrels of private-sector oil reserves to markets by lowering the minimum stockpile required for companies to 67 days of supply from the usual 70. The Japanese measures, which were part of a concerted move by the 26-member International Energy Agency, will be extended until November 5, said Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Shoichi Nakagawa. "Lifting the current measure at this stage would not be preferable as the US situation is still uncertain and crude oil prices are high," Nakagawa told a press conference. The International Energy Agency's (IEA) initiative announced in early September sought to make available to the market 2 mln barrels of strategic oil reserves a day for an initial period of 30 days. The IEA has said it is ready to extend the release period if needed.

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