Paris: In a bid to bring oil down global crude prices, French Energy Minister Eric Besson on Wednesday said that the country is ready to tap into its strategic oil reserves in order to facilitate the crude oil prices in the international market.

"It was the United States that requested this, and France greeted the idea favourably. We are now waiting for the opinion of the International Energy Agency," he told reporters at the Elysee Palace.

Besson's statement appeared to mark an evolution on France's position. Last week, he said that Paris was merely studying the possibility of opening its reserves as "one of the options" to tame rising oil prices.

At the start of October, France had 17 million tonnes of oil and refined fuel products in its strategic reserves, representing 98.5 days of its own use, thus slightly more than the 90 days required by international rules.

Around 12.5 million tonnes are managed by the independent French Committee for Strategic Petrol Stocks and the rest by oil firms, which are required to keep reserves in their privately operated facilities.

In theory, a nation's reserve is designed to be held in case of a major international crisis like a war or a natural disaster in an oil producing area.

But fuel prices are rising at a time when the economic recovery is still shaky in some western economies, such as France and the United States.