Taking stock of the European Union's CSO regime

Many countries hold emergency supplies of petroleum products that can be released onto the market in the event of supply disruptions.

Creating such reserves can be expensive. The US is believed to have spent in the region of $22bn (£13.8bn) purchasing its current emergency petroleum stocks (the funding coming from general taxation), while total oil stocks in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 28 member countries totalled 4.1 billion barrels by the end of 2011.

In this context, the European Council has adopted Directive 2009/119/EC, also called the CSO directive, which updates the EU’s compulsory stocking regime. The directive is more detailed than its predecessor and contains a number of important changes that member states were required to transpose into domestic legislation by 31 December last year…

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