International LEGISLATION

The Directive 2009/119/EC of the Council of 14th Seprember 2009 imposing an obligation on Member states to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products of 14 September 2009 imposes on the member states an overall stockholding obligation which, for Belgium, comes down to 90 days (1/4th) of the net imports of all oil (products) in the previous year.

At least one third of the main oil products needs to be maintained under the form of refined products and 10% of the managed stocks are considered as not available (“unavailable tankbottoms”).

The Directive also foresees in strict rules concerning the security of the stocks, their location, quality and control. This in order to guarantee the availibility of the stocks. The clauses with regard to crisis management oblige the Member states to have at all times readily available a crisis plan that can be checked for efficiency by the European Commission.

Thet Agreement on an International Energy Program was signed by 17 oil consuming countries on 18th November 1974, i.e. after the oil crises of the beginning of the 70ties. It obliges the adhering countries for instance

  • to hold strategic oil stocks
  • to have demand constraining measures ready
  • to allocate between them oil in case of a supply crisis
  • to exchange information on the oil markets and
  • to co-operate on energy efficiency.

It equally contains the institutional clauses for the International Energy Agency (IEA).


The Law of 26th January 2006 (for the unofficial English translation of this Law: click here) imposes strict quality and availability requirements on the Belgian strategic oil stocks. It also imposes frequent physical inspections and contains sanctions. It forms the legal backbone of APETRA and fixes its institutional clausus.  From the law a series of exective decrees derive that fix more in detail the national stockholding system.