(EnergyAsia, March 30 2011, Wednesday) — ExxonMobil Group Japan said it has increased fuel supply into its Tohoku region dealer service station network by 140% above levels before March 11 when a 9-richter scale earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of the country.

More than 26,000 people died or are missing when the quake struck, followed by a tsunami that flooded and destroyed many coastal towns and villages.

Since the March 11 tragedy, ExxonMobil said it has moved more than 24 million litres of fuel including gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, into the Tohoku region in northeast Japan, enough to fill 1,200 tank trucks.

Dealers with the US major operate a network of 360 Esso, Mobil, and General service stations in Tohoku.

As safety remains a top priority, ExxonMobil said it is supporting its dealers by providing them with safe start-up procedures to rigorously assess service station integrity as they are brought back on line.

The major said all its refineries are running at higher than normal rates, and are supplying fuel to devastated areas. The reopening of its Shiogama Terminal in Sendai continues to boost fuel supplies into Tohoku.

Philippe Ducom, president of ExxonMobil Group Japan, said:

“ExxonMobil is a member of the Petroleum Association of Japan and continues to work very closely with the government to address the challenge of delivering fuels to help relief and recovery work.

“We are acutely aware of the suffering and anxiety of the many people affected by the earthquake. The top priority of our 2,900 employees in Japan is to work together to continue to build a stable supply chain and help restore operations at our dealer services stations so that people in the most affected areas can get much-needed fuel.

“The rapid and safe restoration of our Esso, Mobil, and General service station network is a result of the tremendous effort of our supply business partners, fuels marketing local representatives, and service station dealers in Tohoku.

“It is through their strong commitment and dedication that more than 60% of our dealer sites are back in operation and more are being added every day. Yet there is still much work ahead to get fuel to people in Tohoku.”

The ExxonMobil Japan Group comprises ExxonMobil Yugen Kaisha and its related companies and subsidiaries including TonenGeneral Sekiyu KK, and is a major manufacturer and marketer in Japan of petroleum fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals.