The Finnish government on Thursday decided to tap its strategic oil reserves for the first time to cope with oil supply shortage in the global market after Hurricane Katrina hit the United States.
In line with an appeal from the International Energy Agency (IEA), Finland will release 10,400 barrels of oil per day for an initial 30 days, accounting for 0.5 percent of the total IEA contribution.
Oil prices in Finland surged to record high in the aftermath of Katrina, hitting 1.5 euros (1.9 US dollars) a liter last Saturday which was the biggest jump in the Nordic country after World War II.
The IEA said last Friday that all its 26 member states had agreed to make available to the market 2 million barrels of their strategic oil reserves a day for 30 days to offset disruptions from Hurricane Katrina.
Katrina has deprived the United States of nearly 10 percent of its refining capacity, which even before the storm was seen as woefully inadequate to meet demand.
The IEA, grouping industrialized nations with more than 4 billion barrels of public and industry oil stocks, was established in response to the 1974 oil crisis and seeks to coordinate energy policies in order to avoid supply shocks.
The agency's governing board will meet in a week to assess the impact of their coordinated action.