IEA says might tap strategic oil stocks amid Japan crisis

OSLO, March 15, 2011 (AFP) - The International Energy Agency (IEA) is prepared to tap into strategic oil stockpiles to ensure enough reserves for Japan, agency chief Nobuo Tanaka said Tuesday, adding though that the quake- and tsunami-hit country for now had enough stocks.

"They have plenty of stockpiles so we don't have much worry about (the) oil supply situation," Tanaka, a Japanese citizen, told the TV2 News channel during a visit to Oslo.

"Otherwise, if necessary, we stand ready to use the strategic stockpiles, but they (the Japanese) have a very high -- 170 days (worth of consumption) -- stock, so we are not very much worried," he said.

In its monthly report published Tuesday, the IEA estimated that Japanese oil consumption might increase by 200,000 barrels per day if the entire electricity output that usually comes from the country's 11 nuclear reactors was replaced by the oil-fueled plants' production.

Founded in 1974 at the height of the oil crisis, the IEA requires its members, which include most of the world's industrialised nations, to stockpile oil corresponding to at least 90 days' worth of their net imports.