Stocks held by industry, whether for commercial purposes or in order to comply with national stockholding rules, count towards meeting a country’s IEA stockholding commitment. Most member governments require certain companies, such as importers, refiners, product suppliers or wholesalers, to hold a minimum number of days of stocks. Generally, the required amount is set in proportion to the company’s oil import share or its share of sales in the domestic market. These obligated industry stocks are included in the overall industry stock levels reported for a country. IEA data on industry oil stocks, unless otherwise noted, are defined as all primary stocks on national territory, including stocks held by industry to comply with national emergency stockholding rules.
As of 2013, 20 of the 29 current IEA member countries opted to meet all or part of their obligation by placing a stockholding requirement on industry. Of those 20 countries imposing minimum stockholding obligations on industry, six use this approach to meet the totality of their IEA obligation. They are Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom. As a net exporter, Norway has no IEA stockholding obligation; however it places an obligation on companies that produce or import petroleum products in Norway to store product stocks corresponding to 20 days of normal consumption, which would then be used for emergencies. The following countries do not place such an obligation on industry: Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Estonia (which became a member in 2014), Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, the Slovak Republic and the United States. Although these countries place no formal obligation on industry, their industry commercial stocks count towards the IEA obligation of 90 days of net imports.
Government-owned stocks are one of the means by which countries can ensure their IEA minimum stockholding requirement. These are typically financed through the central government budget and held exclusively for emergency purposes. In 2013, eight countries held government stocks: the Czech Republic, Ireland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Poland and the United States.
Some countries have a stockholding arrangement that involves establishing a separate agency endowed with the responsibility of holding all or part of the stock obligation. The agency structure and arrangements vary from country to country but in all cases are clearly defined by state legislation. Several countries have government-administered schemes (e.g. Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain). Others are industry-led and/or industry-owned entities (e.g. Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and the Slovak Republic).