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Japan will end its release of oil reserves to the United States next week

Japan will end its release of oil reserves to the United States next week, a news report quoted the economy minister as saying Tuesday.

Japan has been shipping oil from its reserves under a plan brokered by the International Energy Agency to temper rising prices after Hurricane Katrina struck U.S. oil refineries.

‘The impact of hurricane damage on the global oil market has been mitigated,’ Japan’s Kyodo News quoted the Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai as telling reporters. ‘Therefore, we find it appropriate to terminate Japan’s oil release on Jan. 4.’

The Paris-based IEA announced in September that its 26 members, including Japan, would draw on 2 million barrels a day of oil to help offset the loss of output and refining capacity in the United States caused by Katrina and restore confidence in the market.

Under the release plan, Japan has kept an emergency stockpile equivalent to 67 days of imports over the coming 30-day period. Japan normally keeps a 70-day minimum. The three-day difference is equal to about 10 million barrels.

This is the third time Japan has tapped emergency reserves, after an oil crisis in 1979 and the Gulf War in 1991.

The price of crude is 19 percent below its all-time high of $ 70.85 after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Aug. 30.

The price for light, sweet crude for February delivery slipped 82 cents to $ 57.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in Asian electronic trading midmorning Tuesday in Singapore.

Source : www.duluthsuperior.com

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