IEA member countries commit to release 61.7 million barrels of oil

Countries had pledged to release emergency oil stocks to bring stability to energy markets

The US and EU have levied a series of sanctions against Russia, which is a major global energy producer. Reuters

International Energy Agency member countries have committed to releasing 61.7 million barrels of oil reserves as of Friday as part of the emergency stock release announced on Tuesday.

The amount exceeds the 60 million barrels of oil that countries involved in the agency had pledged to release from emergency stocks to bring stability to energy markets as the Russia-Ukraine crisis intensifies.

The US will provide 30 million barrels followed by Japan with 7.5 million, South Korea with 4.4 million, Germany with 3.2 million, and the UK with 2.2 million.

“The decision taken to release emergency stocks — for only the fourth time in the IEA’s history — has sent a strong message that IEA members are unified in support of Ukraine and will do all they can to provide stability to the market during these difficult days,” the agency's executive director Fatih Birol said.

Member countries hold 1.5 billion barrels in public reserves and about 575 million barrels under obligations with industry.

The initial response of 61.7 million barrels represents only 3 per cent of total emergency reserves, but is the largest stock release in the agency’s history.

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The co-ordinated drawdown is the fourth in the history of the agency, which was created in 1974. Previous collective actions were taken in 2011, 2005 and 1991.

Emergency oil stocks in member countries are either in the form of public stocks or stocks held by industry under an obligation of the government.

In the case of public stocks, these can be released through tenders or loans to the market, which will be launched and released over the coming weeks depending on the specific stockholding system in each country.

As to obligated industry stocks, obligations will be lowered through either legislative decrees or administrative mandates to make the volumes available for consumption.

“This can take a matter of days,” the agency said.

The US and EU have levied a series of sanctions against Russia, which is a major global energy producer and leads the 23-member Opec+ alliance along with Saudi Arabia.

“Events in Ukraine remain deeply distressing and the impacts on energy markets are becoming more pronounced,” Mr Birol said.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely. If necessary, we are ready to recommend additional steps to build on this initial release.”

Russia is the world’s third-largest oil producer and the largest exporter, the agency said. Its exports of about five million barrels per day of crude oil represent about 12 per cent of global trade — and its approximately 2.85 million barrels per day of petroleum products represent about 15 per cent of global refined product trade.

About 60 per cent of Russia’s oil exports go to Europe and another 20 per cent to China.

Updated: March 06, 2022, 8:12 AM
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