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IEA closely monitoring Strait of Hormuz situation, stands ready to act if needed

22 July 2019

PARIS – The International Energy Agency is closely monitoring developments in the Strait of Hormuz, including the recent seizure of a UK-flagged oil tanker, and stands ready to act if needed. The IEA considers that the right of free energy transit is critical to the global economy and must be maintained.

The Strait of Hormuz is a vital maritime transit route for world energy trade. About 20 million barrels of oil transit each day through the Strait, or about 20% of global supply. It is also the route for around a quarter of global liquefied natural gas trade.  

Consumers can be reassured that the oil market is currently well supplied, with oil production exceeding demand in the first half of 2019, pushing up global stocks by 900,000 barrels per day. OECD commercial stocks now total more than 2.9 billion barrels, which is higher than the five-year average.

IEA countries hold 1.55 billion barrels of public emergency oil stocks. In addition, 650 million barrels are held by industry under government obligations, and can be released as needed. These IEA emergency stocks are large enough to cover any disruptions in oil supply from the Strait of Hormuz for an extended period.

IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol is in close dialogue with ministerial counterparts in IEA member and associate governments as well as in other major consuming and producing nations. As usual, the IEA is ready to act quickly and decisively in the event of a disruption to ensure that global markets remain adequately supplied.