Japan is planning to sell 260,000 kilolitres (kl), or 1.64 million barrels, of crude oil from its emergency reserves on March 9 in line with its pledge to a US-led move to release reserves to cool off rising oil prices.

The country’s industry ministry said on Wednesday that 110,000 kl will be sold from its Tomakomai-tobu tank in northern Japan and about 150,000 kl from Japanese refiner Eneos Kiire tank in southern Japan. Deliveries will be available to winning bidders as of April 20.

Japan depends on imports for virtually all of its energy resources, despite being the fifth-largest consumer of energy in the world. Japanese private companies, including refiners, hold about 175 million barrels of crude and oil products as part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), enough for around 90 days’ consumption, according to state agency Jogmec.

The sales are part of an earlier US move to release 50 million barrels of oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR), the largest petroleum stockpile in the world used for emergencies.

The move came after US President Joe Biden had repeatedly asked OPEC+ producers to increase the group’s collective output to provide additional market supply to lower crude prices.

However, the group did not relent to his demands and agreed to adhere to the cartel’s production pact of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December last year and in January and February this year.

The US SPR sales later led to a coordinated effort with other major energy-consuming nations in releasing reserves in China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK.

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