KANAZAWA, Ishikawa Pref. (Kyodo) The nation’ first state-run facility to stockpile liquefied petroleum gas has been completed in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture, government officials said Friday.

The new 250,000-ton LPG reserve facility on the Sea of Japan coast was built at a cost of 41.5 billion yen. It is one of the largest LPG facilities in the world, able to hold the equivalent of a week’s supply of gas for the nation. It has five tanks, each 60 meters in diameter and 45 meters high.

“The completion of the facility is highly significant for securing stable energy supply. We would also like to do our best for disaster prevention as well as protection of the natural environment,” Ishikawa Gov. Masanori Tanimoto said in a speech Friday at a ceremony with central and local government officials to celebrate the facility’s completion.

Tokyo plans to start stockpiling LPG in late August, when a tanker with 44,000 tons of LPG from Saudi Arabia will arrive, the officials said.

Total government stockpiles of LPG are scheduled to amount to 1.5 million tons — enough to meet demand for 40 days — in fiscal 2010 at five LPG reserve facilities to be completed by fiscal 2009.

When added to the combined 50-day stock private LPG importers are required by law to have, Japan’s total LPG stockpile would be the largest in the world, the officials said.

Tokyo decided to stockpile LPG after the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf crisis, when gas shipments were restricted and domestic inventory fell sharply. About 80 percent of LPG imports come from the Middle East.

An LPG holding facility in Nagasaki Prefecture will be completed in September and another in Ibaraki Prefecture will be finished in December. Tokyo aims to build two underground LPG reserve facilities by fiscal 2009.

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