South Korea will release 3.17mn bl of oil from its reserves starting next month, as part of a global effort by oil-consuming countries to lower fuel prices.

South Korea will sequentially release the oil from January-March next year according to the production plans of each refinery, the ministry of trade, industry and energy (Motie) said today. The release will take the form of a loan and a sale, with 2.08mn bl of crude to be loaned to domestic refineries and 1.09mn bl of oil products to be released to the highest bidder.

This is equivalent to 3.3pc of the government’s total 97mn bl of oil stockpiles and the remaining amount can last for 103 days, which is expected to be sufficient to respond to any sudden oil supply or demand crisis in the future, Motie said.

South Korea agreed last month to participate in a joint release of oil reserves with the US, China, India, Japan and the UK. The coordinated effort was initiated by the US after retail regular grade gasoline prices reached a seven-year high of $3.41/USG in November, prompting President Joe Biden to order a draw-down up to 50mn bl of crude from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve

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