FACTBOX: Five countries join US strategic crude stock release

23 Nov 2021

Quantum Commodity Intelligence - The White House announced on Tuesday that it would release 50 million barrels of its own Strategic Petroleum Reserve stocks in a bid to limit soaring oil prices and called on five major oil importers to follow suit.

The US said it had been working in parallel with China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom "to address the lack of supply as the world exits the pandemic".

All five of them are participating in the joint sale. Below is a summary of their actions.


  • India confirmed it would release 5 million barrels from its strategic reserves.
  • The world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer holds about 38 million barrels of crude oil in reserves.
  • "India has repeatedly expressed concern at supply of oil being artificially adjusted below demand levels by oil producing countries, leading to rising prices and negative attendant consequences," the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas said in a statement.
  • India will consume around 4.67 million bpd in 2021, according to EIA forecasts.


  • Japan said it would release "a few days' worth [of stocks] at first and consider adding later," the government told local newswire NHK.
  • The world's fifth-largest oil importer holds about 140 days' worth of strategic reserves.
  • Japan will consume around 3.33 million bpd this year, according to the EIA.

South Korea

  • South Korea said it would join the US' efforts to release stocks but said the amount and timing of the release will be decided after further discussions with the US, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Tuesday.
  • The world's fourth-largest oil importer hold about 97 million barrels of oil in strategic reserve.
  • South Korea consumed 2.5 million bpd in 2019, according to the most recent EIA data.

United Kingdom

  • The UK will allow companies to voluntarily release some of their oil reserves, a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy told Quantum.
  • "This will be voluntary, not mandatory," the BEIS stressed.
  • If all companies go ahead with the release, a volume of 1.5 million barrels of oil will be made available.
  • "This does not impact UK oil reserves which are significantly above the 90 days required by the IEA."
  • The UK will consume around 0.97 million bpd this year, according to EIA data.


  • A spokesperson for the Chinese National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration confirmed last week that China would follow the US in releasing volumes from its stocks.
  • Plans of a joint stock release had been discussed on a phone call last week between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
  • However, the world's second-largest crude importer is yet to announce details on the release since the announcement by the White House on Tuesday.
  • China will consume around 15.3 million bpd this year, according to EIA data.