Agreement on emergency oil stocks
© Fotolia,Joe Gough
New rules for minimum oil reserves held in the EU will bolster energy security and bring the European system more into line with International Energy Agency (IEA) practice. Energy ministers reached agreement on such rules at the Council meeting of 12 June.
Oil is the most important energy source in the EU. Growing worldwide consumption, dwindling reserves and geopolitical challenges all increase the risk of supply difficulties. An emergency mechanism has to kick in if there is a sudden substantial drop in the supply of crude oil or petroleum products to the Union or to a member state.
Under the new system, total oil stocks maintained by member states must equal at least 90 days of average net imports or 61 days of average daily consumption, whichever is the greater. Of this amount, a third must be held in the form of refined products.
Member states must have contingency plans and efficient procedures to release stocks rapidly and transparently in a crisis situation.
In addition, monitoring will be strengthened. Member states must keep a detailed register of their emergency stocks and allow them to be verified at any time. They must report their stocks to the Commission each month.
Oil stocks can be held at any location across the Union as long as they are physically accessible and fully available. They can also be held in another member state's territory, if agreed by the member state on whose behalf the stocks are being kept.
Council press release(pdf)
Council webcast of press conference
Security of energy supply - Commission website
International Energy Agency website: Energy security