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Security of oil supply

EU countries are required to maintain emergency stocks of oil, which can be used in case of a disruption to supply.

Oil accounted for 37% of the EU's energy mix in 2022 (according to Eurostat). While the transition to alternative sources of energy is well underway, EU countries are 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 oil supply disruptions.

Emergency oil stocks

The EU's Oil Stocks Directive (2009/119/EC) specifies that

  • 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
  • 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
  • EU countries must analyse risks of oil supply disruptions and must put in place crisis management procedures to be able to react in case crisis occurs
  • 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. There is a coordination mechanism with the parallel system of oil stocks in the International Energy Agency
  • the Oil Coordination Group is a standing advisory group that facilitates coordination between EU countries and with the Commission

Monthly data of emergency oil stocks

Evaluation of the directive

The evaluation of the oil stocks directive in November 2017 assessed the actual effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU-added value of the directive. Its results are presented in a Staff Working Document.

XEOS web platform

The evaluation identified the management of cross-border emergency oil stocks as an area with room for improvement.

The Commission therefore launched the XEOS web platform in June 2023.  It allows the obligated parties of one EU country (companies, Central Stockholding Entities, etc.) to introduce requests to hold stocks in other EU countries and allows the competent authorities of the relevant EU countries to verify the information, communicate with each other and with operators and authorise such requests. The authorities are also able to coordinate stock inspections through the platform.

Facilitating such cooperation among EU countries’ administrations and using standardised and simplified procedures will also lead to efficiency gains.


24 NOVEMBER 2017
Mid-term evaluation of Council Directive 2009/119/EC imposing an obligation on Member States to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products