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KPC, South Korea to jointly stockpile crude oil

KUN0013 4 GEN 0273 FRANCE /AFP -GBO3 ECO-JAPAN-S.KOREA-KPC KPC, South Korea to jointly stockpile crude oil TOKYO, Oct 31 (KUNA) -- State-run oil companies of South Korea and Kuwait are to sign a contract Tuesday to store 2 million barrels of Kuwaiti crude in storage facilities in South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported in Seoul. The contract to be sealed between Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and the Korea National Oil Corporation calls for Seoul to receive rent payments for leasing the facilities to Kuwait, which has a stronghold in the Asian market. In case of emergency, South Korea holds the primary right to receive 2 million barrels of crude from Kuwait within 90 days of request. Once the deal is signed, it will be South Korea's first time to reach a crude stockpile accord with a member nation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), after joining hands with Norway and Algeria, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said, according to the report. "What matters the most is that we are to seal the contract with a key oil-producing nation, Kuwait," Kim Gwan-seop, a Korea National Oil official was quoted as saying. Kuwait was the third-largest crude exporter to South Korea last year, shipping 93 million barrels of crude. On the back of the contract with Kuwait, the volume of crude stockpiles in South Korea is 27 million barrels this year, up 7.1 million barrels from a year ago. By 2010, South Korea seeks to expand the amount of joint crude stockpiles to 40 million barrels, it said. South Korea, the world's fourth-largest crude buyer, relies entirely on imports for its oil needs.(end) mk.wsa KUNA 311045 Oct 06NNNN