HC Deb 27 October 2003 vol 412 c16WS
Mr. Redwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans the EU has to share oil stocks in the event of an oil crisis. [134317]

Mr. Timms

The UK is required as a member state of the European Union to hold emergency oil stocks equal to 67.5 days' consumption, and as a member of the International Energy Agency (LEA) to take part in any collective response to a major international supply disruption.

Under the legislation governing the EU stock-holding obligations, if difficulties arise with regard to EU oil supplies the European Commission will arrange a consultation between member states. However, any response to disruption, including sharing arrangements, is a matter for member states, acting as members of the IEA. The European Commission made a proposal last year to increase its own role. This proposal was opposed by member states at the Energy Council in May 2003, and by the European Parliament at a plenary session in September 2003.