TOKYO, May 16 (Reuters) - Japan will likely conduct a tender in the autumn to buy up to 100,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for national stockpiles, a trade ministry official with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.
The fuel, often referred to as butane or propane, will be stored at a stockpiling base in Kurashiki in the country’s west by the end of November.
The step comes as Japan looks to boost its LPG state stockpile to at least 50 days’ worth of national imports, or about 1.38 million tonnes.
It wants to reduce the impact from any supply disruptions in the Middle East, which it relies on for supplies of the fuel, commonly used in heaters or stoves.
Japan currently has a total of 1.35 million tonnes in five LPG stockpiling bases with a total capacity of 1.5 million tonnes.
The trade ministry’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy has budgeted 4.84 billion yen ($42.7 million) for this fiscal year to buy 100,000 tonnes of LPG, the official said, declining to be identified. He did not say how much LPG would be purchased in the November tender.
Meanwhile, the trade ministry has approved lowering the commercial sector’s LPG reserve requirements to 40 days’ worth of the nation’s imports from 50 as state stocks are being increased.
($1 = 113.4900 yen)
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford