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The government will start stockpiling liquefied petroleum gas, possibly in late August, when the first vessel carrying 44,000 tons of LPG from Saudi Arabia is scheduled to arrive at a new facility in Ishikawa Prefecture, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Monday.

Government stockpiles of LPG are scheduled to reach 1.5 million tons, enough to meet demand for 40 days, in fiscal 2010 at five reserve facilities to be completed by fiscal 2009.

When added to the 50-day stock required of LPG importers, the nation’s total LPG stockpile would be the largest in the world, ministry officials said.

Japan decided to create government stockpiles after the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf crisis, when gas shipments were restricted and inventory levels in Japan dropped sharply. About 80 percent of Japan’s LPG imports come from the Middle East.

The Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture, reserve facility is the first owned by the government.

Built at a cost of 41.5 billion, yen the 250,000-ton facility is to be completed Friday. It will be equipped with five tanks measuring 60 meters in diameter and 45 meters in height. It theoretically will hold enough LDP to meet the nation’s needs for a week.

Construction of other reserve facilities in Nagasaki and Ibaraki prefectures will be finished in September and December. The government also aims to build two underground LPG reserve facilities in Ehime and Okayama prefectures by fiscal 2009, the METI officials said.

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