At its meeting on 21 April 2022, the government decided to support the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) proposal to release additional reserves of petroleum products in the spirit of solidarity to ensure security of supply in the global fuel market.
In early April, the IEA decided to release 120 million barrels of national oil reserves to calm the fuel market, which had been strained due to Russia’s military action. The United States will contribute half of this amount, or 60 million barrels, and the other half will be contributed proportionately by the rest of the member countries. Estonia’s share is 74,000 barrels or 10,000 tonnes of oil products, which makes up four percent of the country’s fuel reserves and corresponds to the average consumption of almost four days.
According to Taavi Aas, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, by releasing fuel reserves, we are also demonstrating our commitment to jointly resist Russian aggression. ‘Estonia’s participation in the action is important, because joint efforts to balance the deficit of the global fuel market will have a significantly greater impact than stand-alone activities of each country,’ he said.
The minister added that the supplies of the Estonian fuel market have been well secured so far and the stock levels of our companies are good. ‘However, as the war drags on, the situation with motor fuels may become more complicated at some point, which is why it is worth thinking about how to consume petrol and diesel more economically,’ said Aas.
According to Priit Enok, Chairman of the Management Board of AS Eesti Varude Keskus (Estonian Stockpiling Agency), which manages the Estonian liquid fuel reserves, in the current situation it is reasonable to primarily use the part of the Estonian state reserves stored abroad. ‘The Estonian Stockpiling Agency will sell the agreed amount of fuel stored in Finnish or Swedish storage facilities. The income received will be used for buying an equivalent amount of fuel back in autumn, which is planned to be stored in a storage facility located in Estonia. This will increase the share of fuel reserves stored in Estonia,’ Enok explained.
Today’s decision of the government is a supplement to a similar decision made in mid-March, by which Estonia contributed 5,000 tonnes to the joint release of fuel reserves.
Since 2010, Estonia has maintained stocks of liquid fuel for 90 days. As there are no refineries in the country, the Estonian Stockpiling Agency stores motor fuels in the final products, i.e. petrol and diesel and aviation fuel. This allows the state to release stocks very quickly and flexibly. In order to release the stocks, the fuel will be sold as a joint and solidary action either to the international market or to Estonian fuel companies in case of domestic supply disruptions.