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Japan, Australia ready to tap oil reserves if Ukraine conflict hits supply

MELBOURNE (CNA) – Japan and Australia said yesterday they were prepared to tap their oil reserves, together with other member nations of the International Energy Agency (IEA), if global supplies were hit by hostilities in Ukraine.

Japan said it would work with oil producing and consuming nations and support a coordinated oil release from its emergency stockpile if requested to do so by the IEA.

“The stabilisation of the crude oil market is extremely important for the stability of the world economy and the Japanese economy,” the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement.

Australia’s Energy Minister Angus Taylor said Canberra was working closely with the United States (US) and the IEA to monitor oil and gas markets ahead of any move to tap the small stockpile Australia holds in the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

This week, the IEA said member nations stood ready to act together to ensure global oil markets were adequately supplied.

Total oil stocks in IEA nations stood at close to 4.16 billion barrels by the end of December, including 1.5 billion held by governments in emergency reserves, the IEA said on February 22.

By the end of December, Japan held 480 million barrels, or 240 days’ worth of reserves, in national and private stockpiles and sufficient reserves of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the Industry Ministry said.

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