Oil accounts for almost 35% of the EU's energy mix. While the transition to alternative sources of energy is well underway, EU countries are currently still dependent on imports of crude oil and petroleum products. It is therefore vital to maintain emergency stocks to be used in the event of supply disruptions.
Emergency oil stocks
Under the EU's Oil Stocks Directive (2009/119/EC):
- EU countries must maintain emergency stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products equal to at least 90 days of net imports or 61 days of consumption, whichever is higher
- Stocks must be readily available so that in the event of a crisis they can be allocated quickly to where they are most needed
- EU countries must send the European Commission a statistical summary of their stocks at the end of each month. This summary must state the number of days of net imports or consumption that the stocks represent
- During a supply crisis, the Commission is responsible for organising a consultation between EU countries. Withdrawals from stocks should not be made before this consultation, except in a very urgent situation
- The Oil Coordination Group is a standing advisory group that facilitates coordination between EU countries and with the Commission.
Detailed statistics on the levels of emergency stocks held by EU countries from 1 January 2013 onwards are available from Eurostat.
The mid-term evaluation of the oil stocks directive assessed the actual effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU-added value of the directive; its results are presented in a Staff Working Document (November 2017).
As part of the evaluation, the Commission sought the views of stakeholders and citizens in a public consultation in 2016.