Japan to auction more than 600,000 bbl of oil from national reserves in Feb

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's industry ministry said on Monday it will hold an auction on Feb. 9 to sell about 100,000 kilolitres, or 628,980 barrels, of crude oil from its national reserve as a part of a U.S.-led coordinated release of oil reserve to cool rising prices.

The supply, to be taken from its Shibushi tank in southwestern Japan, will become available to the winning bidder on March 20 or later, it said in a statement.

Japan's government said last month that it would release "a few hundred thousand kilolitres" of oil in response to a U.S. request, and the sale would be done as part of a switch in the composition of the types of oil held in the national reserve.

"This is the first round of the planned releases and we will conduct more auctions when we are ready and while we closely watch the international energy markets," an official at the ministry told Reuters.

Global oil prices have slipped by more than $5 a barrel since the ministry announced the plan late in November, as the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant has raised concerns that fuel demand might decrease.

But industry minister Koichi Hagiuda said earlier this month that Japan's oil release plan remained unchanged despite the drop.

The U.S. Department of Energy said earlier this month it will sell 18 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with offers from companies to purchase it due on Jan. 4, as part of the release aimed at cooling fuel prices.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kenneth Maxwell)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Click For Restrictions -

Reuters Japan United States Asia India East Asia Europe US