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Oil (Stocks)

Volume 884: debated on Friday 24 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he intends to review or revise the strategic oil storage targets at present maintained.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what international obligations there are with regard to the maintenance of reserve oil stocks.

The EEC Directives oblige member States to maintain minimum stocks of petroleum amounting to 90 days' average consumption in the previous year. Participating countries in the International Energy Programme are obliged to hold at least 60 days' stocks, excluding those physically unavailable in an emergency.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many days' supply of reserve oil stocks the Government intend to maintain; and how many days' stocks are held at present.

As to the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State gave him on Monday 20th January. Stocks held by oil companies are published monthly in "Energy Trends" (Table 17). At 1st January 1975 those stocks were equivalent to 81 days' forward supply. This is the equivalent of over 90 days' average consumption in 1974, but some seasonal decline may be expected over the next three months.