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Sweden opens petrol reserves

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10:03 CEST+02:00
For the first time ever, the Swedish government is to release supplies of petrol from its own reserves. The decision, expected on Thursday, is a direct consequence of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the southern USA almost three weeks ago.

Soon after the catastrophe, which badly affected the American oil industry, the International Energy Agency requested that its members release 2 million barrels of oil per day from their strategic oil reserves for a 30-day period.

Sweden's share, noted Dagens Nyheter, is barely one percent.

Minister for Sustainable Development, Mona Sahlin, is proposing to take almost 69,000 cubic metres of petrol from oil companies' supplies - which represents 4.5 days' use. The Swedish reserves contain enough fuel for 90 days' use.

"This is a measure to counter the shortfall in oil supply in some of the IEA member countries - concerning production in the Gulf of Mexico and the refinery capacity" said the deputy director of the Ministry for Sustainable Development, Lars Guldbrand, to DN.

"Primarily it will remedy the lack of petrol, not crude oil," he added.

Although the objective of opening the petrol reserves is to maintain a consistent supply, it is possible that prices, which are at a record high, could be influenced downwards.

Nevertheless, Jonas Sidensjö, the head of sales at Norsk Hydro in Sweden, said that Sweden's measures alone would have little effect on prices on the world market.

"If several European countries opened up their reserves for a short period, it's not unlikely that it could have an impact on the price of the end product," he said.

TT/The Local

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