Hungary started building up strategic stocks thirty years ago, and the country has had enough oil and oil products on stock for at least 90 days since 1998. The reserves have sometimes fallen a little below this level, but never as low as in August this year, when the government released very substantial quantities of gasoil to prevent fuel shortages, the business news site hvg.hu reports.
In terms of stock days, this year has seen the biggest overall drop in the Association's emergency stocks of crude oil and petroleum products, the Hungarian Hydrocarbon Stockpiling Association (MSZKSZ) told the news site. Hvg.hu asked MSZKSZ about the current level of strategic stocks because the 184 million liters of diesel oil released by the government at the beginning of August seemed to be a blatantly large amount – so it seems that appearances were not deceiving.
In recent months, it has become common knowledge that the MSZKSZ is responsible for maintaining and managing domestic stocks of strategic oil and oil products. The level of stocks must be at least equal to 90 days of net imports, as required by the EU – and can be more, of course – which was a precondition for accession to the EU and is still required today.
The predecessor of the MSZKSZ, the Association of Crude Oil and Oil Products Stockpiling, in line with its objective when it was established in 1993, had already built up the necessary stocks by the end of 1998, well before Hungary's accession to the EU in 2004. These stocks have only very rarely needed to be touched in the past, and never to the extent that they do now.
The release of emergency stocks can be ordered either by the government or by the EU or the International Energy Agency (IEA), in the latter case in the framework of collective stock releases in synchronization with other member states. The seriousness of such a release is shown by the fact that it has taken place on only five occasions in the 30-year history of the alliance.
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