EXCLUSIVE – Chinese government agency sets plan to free up oil reserves

BEIJING, Nov. 19 (Reuters) – China’s state reserves agency said on Thursday it was working to release oil stocks, though it declined to comment on a US request to major consuming countries of the world to use their oil stocks. stocks stored in order to reduce barrel prices on the international market.

China’s National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration told Reuters when asked to comment on the United States’ request that it would reveal details of the measure on its website.

“We are making the effort to free up crude oil reserves. And for all the details related to the release, we will post a statement on our website, ”a spokesperson for the state agency said.

China, the world’s largest oil importer, launched its first public auction of state crude reserves to a select group of domestic refineries in September, in a bid to stabilize energy prices.

Beijing also said earlier this month that it would use its state fuel reserves to control rising diesel and gasoline prices.

Brent oil prices have gained up to 69% this year. On Thursday, they fell about 0.4% to $ 79.97 a barrel. US WTI light crude futures fell 0.8%, hitting their lowest level in a month.

China keeps the volume of its strategic reserves secret. The last public update was in 2019, when the National Energy Administration revealed that the country had stocks of crude, including state barrels and stocks of companies and oil tanks. , which could last up to 80 days.

Consulting firm Energy Aspects estimated earlier this year that the Chinese state’s oil reserves contained around 220 million barrels of crude, which equates to 15 days of demand.

“The physical oil markets in Asia remain tight… A coordinated release of reserves could have a bigger impact, even if it would be temporary,” Citi analysts said in a note released Thursday.

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