Nearly 62.7 million barrels of emergency oil stocks are being made available collectively by 31 International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries to avoid supply shortfall as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, IEA has said.

While the U.S. is releasing 30 million barrels, Australia (1.6 million), Japan (7.5 million), Korea (4.4 million), and the European countries are releasing 18.6 million barrels from their emergency stocks. The 31 member countries of the governing board of the International Energy Agency had agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil from their emergency reserves on March 1.

IEA members hold emergency stockpiles of 1.5 billion barrels. The initial release of 60 million barrels, or 4% of those stockpiles, is equivalent to 2 million barrels a day for 30 days. The coordinated drawdown is the fourth in the history of the IEA, which was created in 1974. Previous such collective actions were taken in 2011, 2005 and 1991, said the global energy agency.

Over two-thirds of the released oil is coming from public stocks (government or specialised agency-held stocks) and nearly one-third is from the lowering of stockholding obligations set on industry. The vast majority of the public stocks are in the form of crude oil, while the bulk of the oil available from lowering stockholding obligations is refined product, said IEA.

Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer and the largest exporter. It exports of about 5 million barrels a day of crude oil represent roughly 12% of global trade — and its approximately 2.85 million barrels a day of petroleum products represent around 15% of global refined product trade. Around 60% of Russia’s oil exports go to Europe and another 20% to China.

IEA has also suggested a 10-point action plan for the European Union to reduce its imports of Russian natural gas by more than one-third within a year through a combination of measures. The IEA’s 10-point plan includes not signing any new gas contracts with Russia, maximising gas supplies from other sources, accelerating the deployment of solar and wind, making the most of existing low emissions energy sources such as nuclear and renewables and ramping up energy efficiency measures in homes and businesses.

Taken together, these steps could reduce the European Union’s imports of Russian gas by more than 50 billion cubic metres, or over one-third, within a year, the IEA estimates. In 2021, the European Union had imported 155 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Russia, accounting for around 45% of EU gas imports and close to 40% of its total gas consumption.

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