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topic: Oil stocks

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Explanation of the Closing Oil Stock Levels in Days of Net Imports Table

Each IEA member country has an obligation to have oil stock levels that equate to no less than 90 days of net imports.

Currently, there are three net exporting IEA member countries (Canada, Denmark and Norway) which do not have a stockholding obligation under the I.E.P. Agreement.

The IEA minimum stockholding obligation is based on net imports of all oil, including both primary products (such as crude oil, natural gas liquids [NGLs]) and refined products. It does not cover naphtha and volumes of oil used for international marine bunkers.

The 90-day commitment of each IEA member country is based on average daily net imports of the previous calendar year. This commitment can be met through both stocks held exclusively for emergency purposes and stocks held for commercial or operational use, including stocks held at refineries, at port facilities, and in tankers in ports.

The obligation specifies several types of stocks that cannot be counted toward the commitment, including military stocks, volumes in tankers at sea, in pipelines or at service stations, or amounts held by end-consumers (tertiary stocks). It also does not include crude oil not yet produced.

Member countries can arrange to store oil outside of their national boundaries and include such stocks in meeting their minimum requirement. This option is particularly important for countries in which storage capacity constraints or supply logistics make domestic storage insufficient.

To exercise this option and count the stocks held abroad toward the obligation, the governments involved must have bilateral agreements assuring unconditional access to the stocks in an emergency. When evaluating a country's compliance with the 90-day obligation, the IEA applies a 10% deduction to its total stocks, net any oil held under bilateral agreements. This accounts for any volumes that are technically unavailable (such as tank bottoms) (see IEA Methodology).

This table provides a view of how IEA member countries are meeting their stockholding obligation in the most recent month for which data is available. By clicking on the country name, a description of that country’s stockholding regime can be found.