The world's biggest economies said they were looking into releasing oil from their strategic reserves, following a rare request from the United States for a coordinated move to cool global energy prices.
The U.S. move reflects frustration with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies such as Russia who have rebuffed Washington's requests to speed up oil production as the world economy rebounds from the pandemic.
It also comes as U.S. President Joe Biden fends off political pressure ahead of midterm elections next year over rising gasoline prices and other costs driven by the recovery.
The Biden administration has asked big oil buyers such as India and Japan - as well as China for the first time - to consider releasing stocks of crude, several people familiar with the requests told Reuters.
China's state reserve bureau told Reuters it was working on a release of its crude oil reserves, although it declined to comment on the U.S. request.
A Japanese industry ministry official said Washington had requested Tokyo's cooperation in dealing with higher oil prices but he could not confirm whether the request included a coordinated releases of reserves. By law, Japan cannot release reserves to lower prices, the official said.