Press release

UK’s oil stocking system to be reviewed

The future of the UK’s oil stocking system is being considered by a consultation launched by Government today.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Press Release 2013/035

The future of the UK’s oil stocking system is being considered by a consultation launched by Government today.

Views are being invited on whether the present obligation on suppliers to hold stocks is the most efficient model or if an alternative system such as centralised stocking agency, similar to that of other EU member states, would be more appropriate.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said:

“The UK has a strong history ensuring a resilient and responsive oil stocking system that meets our international obligations and provides energy security.

“A large part of that success has been the close working relationship we have with industry. We are launching this consultation to ensure our oil stocking system continues to follow best practice, remains fit for purpose and provides the foundation to a vibrant UK oil industry.”

As a member state of the EU and the International Energy Agency (IEA), the UK is required to hold emergency oil stocks for use in an oil supply disruption.

UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) represents oil refining and marketing companies in the UK and Director General Chris Hunt said:

“UKPIA today welcomes the Consultation on UK’s Compulsory Stocking, and would support the establishment of an independent stockholding agency to manage the CSO going forward. We welcome DECC’s commitment to examine the case for this approach, and look forward to responding to this key consultation.”

The Downstream Fuel Association (DFA) represents UK fuel supply chain companies and Chief Executive Teresa Sayers said:

“The DFA supports the Government’s oil stocking consultation and in particular DECC’s consideration of a centralised stocking agency. This is a unique opportunity to ensure the UK finds the most cost effective way to comply with its international oil stocking obligations.”

Notes for Editors

  • The consultation can be found on the GOV.UK website

  • Responses are requested no later than 7 June 2013 and should be emailed to or, if in hard copy, to David Rolfe Department for

Energy and Climate Change (Area 3E), 3 Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2HD.

The Compulsory Stocking Obligation in numbers:

  • An EU Member State, under the terms of the Oil Stocking Directive, is required to hold oil stocks at the high of 90 days of average net daily imports or 61 days of average daily inland consumption.

  • Members of the International Energy Agency (IEA) commit to maintain emergency oil reserves equivalent to at least 90 days of net imports.

  • The same stocks can be used to meet both obligations so in practice the UK must meet the largest. The UK is an oil producer, which reduces reliance on daily imports, so the highest obligation the UK must currently meet is the EU requirement of 61 days of average consumption.

  • Official published figures in Energy Trends March 2013 showed the UK had stocks equal to around 84 days of average consumption.

  • Companies must supply at least 50,000 tonnes of oil to the UK market in order to be obligated.

  • Since 2006 refiners are required to hold 67.5 days of stock whereas non-refiners (including importers and significant traders) are required to hold 58 days of stocks (primarily due to different operational models).

  • Under the terms of the Oil Stocking Order 2012, obligated companies are required to hold at least 1/3rd of their oil stocks in the form of one or more particular product categories.

  • The UK’s total Compulsory Stocking Obligation stocks currently held by obligated companies is over 11,500,000 tonnes.

Published 4 April 2013