Emergency oil stocks

Directive 2009/119/EC obliging EU countries to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products

It aims to secure the European Union (EU) oil supply by requiring governments to keep a minimum level of crude oil and/or petroleum stocks.
It sets out procedures for releasing these if there is a serious shortage.

Key Points

EU countries must:

maintain total oil stocks equivalent to at least 90 days of average daily imports or 61 days of consumption — whichever is the higher;
ensure that stocks are readily available and accessible in the event of an emergency;
keep an updated register of their emergency stocks and send the data to the European Commission by 25 February every year;
maintain an updated register of specific stocks, such as motor and aviation gasoline, held within their territory and supply the Commission with the information within 15 days of receiving a request to do so;
send the Commission monthly summaries of the level of the commercial stocks held on their territory;
have contingency plans in place to respond to a major disruption in supply and be able to release some or all of their emergency stocks quickly and effectively;
allow companies and other entities that are required to hold oil stocks to delegate some of that responsibility, subject to certain conditions.

EU countries may set up central stockholding entities to acquire, maintain or sell stocks to comply with the directive.

Import and consumption levels used to calculate the minimum level of stocks are based on the previous year’s data.
An advisory oil and petroleum products coordination group helps the Commission analyse security of supply for the EU.

The Commission may, working with national authorities, review emergency preparedness procedures.
By 31 December 2015, the Commission had to review how the legislation was implemented.

Application & Background

The directive has applied since 29 October 2009. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 31 December 2012.

For more information, see:

‘EU oil stocks’ on the European Commission’s website.


Council Directive 2009/119/EC of 14 September 2009 imposing an obligation on Member States to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products (OJ L 265, 9.10.2009, pp. 9-23)


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