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China starts first national oil reserve base
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China said Wednesday its first national oil reserve base has been filled with crude oil, one day after it announced the setting up of a national oil reserve center.

Located in Zhenhai, Zhejiang Province, east China, the base has a planned storage space of 5.2 million cubic meters, said the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning agency.

The commission said the base, built by China's largest oil refiner Sinopec, was accepted by the organization as up to standard upon a check after a one-year trial operation.

The completion and use of the base represented a milestone for China's oil reserve system, said the commission.

The base is one of four of that China began to build from March, 2004 onwards in coastal areas.

The other three - in Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province, Huangdao, Shandong Province and Dalian, Liaoning Province - are still under construction, and are expected to be in use later this year or next year.

China started a state strategic oil reserve base program in 2004 as a way to offset oil supply risks and reduce the impact of fluctuating energy prices worldwide on China's domestic market for refined oil.

The bases are designed to maintain strategic oil reserves of an equivalent to 30 days of imports, or about 10 million tonnes.

With the approval of the Chinese government, an oil reserve center was officially launched Tuesday, which oversees a wide-range of social and economic affairs, including energy.

The center, the administrative body of the country's national oil reserve system, takes responsibility for building and releasing the country's strategic oil reserves, the commission said in a statement.

The commission said the center will also keep an eye on the movement of demand and supply in both domestic and international oil markets.

(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2007)

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