The Japanese government is said to be planning to release oil from strategic stocks in order to counteract the high prices.
According to sources from the Japanese government, a request has been made for this from the United States, which itself also wants to use its strategic oil reserves.
It would be the first time that Japan would release those state stocks. Under Japanese law, those reserves may only be used in case of emergencies such as natural disasters. But according to the Japanese news channel Asahi, the oil stocks are now above the legal minimum requirements, and the government believes that those surplus oil barrels should be able to be marketed. “We have no choice; we have to do something,” one of the sources told Reuters news agency.
China is also reportedly able to release strategic oil reserves. US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are said to have discussed this last week. However, oil alliance OPEC+ has so far refused to produce any more oil, despite calls from the US, China, Japan and India.
Oil prices have been falling for some time now due to speculation about oil reserves. However, on Friday, prices still showed minuses of more than 3 percent, partly due to concerns about new travel restrictions against the coronavirus as more and more strict measures are introduced in Europe and Austria enters a new lockdown.
On Monday morning, US oil price traded at USD 76.01 per barrel (of 159 litres). Brent oil cost $78.83 a barrel. That’s the lowest level in about seven weeks.