As a member of the European Union (EU) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), Italy must comply with EU Directive 2009/119/EC imposing Member States the obligation to maintain stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products to ensure their availability in case of a national or international crisis.


The international bodies with the task to declare major supply disruptions are IEA’s Executive Office and the coordination group within the European Council.


OCSIT is the Italian central stockholding entity with the task to maintain the emergency oil stocks, owned by the same.


In case of national or international supply disruptions, by order of the Ministry of the Economic Development, OCSIT shall immediately release its stocks for consumption through the national distribution system.


The stocks are released through competitive sale procedures; such mechanism is intended to guarantee the supply of retail oil products at market prices.


The first provisions aimed at copying with oil emergencies were enacted in 1968 by the European Union with Directive 68/414/CEE, imposing on Member States the obligation to create and maintain strategic stocks of crude oil. Following the 1974 oil crisis, OECD decided to establish a specific body within its structure, with the purpose to manage global emergencies. As a result, the International Energy Agency (IEA) was created.


The agreements willfully executed by the States adhering to the IEA contain the obligation to set minimum emergency stocks, in order to manage a national or international supply crisis, through a joint approach finalized to put on the market reserves of crude oil products.


The progressive markets opening and simplification of stock maintenance in member States allowed the European Union and the IEA to pursue the same goals, although with different methods.


With Directive 2009/119/CE, that is the last of a number of interventions that were made necessary in the years to adapt to evolutions in the production and consumption patterns, the calculations method used by both the European Union and the IEA were merged into a sole scheme, implemented in Italy by Legislative Decree no. 249 dated 31 December 2012.