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WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Department said on Wednesday that it has been discussing the release of 5 million barrels of crude from its emergency reserves for "many months" and the sale was timed to work with Gulf Coast refineries' maintenance cycles.
"The release of up to 5 million additional barrels of sour crude into the marketplace through the proposed test sale is expected to have minimal market impact," the department said in a statement.
The Energy Department last did a test sale to check how well its reserves infrastructure and distribution system was operating in 1990, but the reserves have been tapped several times since for emergencies. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)