Under EU and International Energy Agency (IEA) obligations, Ireland is required to hold 90 days of oil stocks that can be used in the event of an oil supply disruption. The National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) is responsible for acquiring and managing the bulk of Ireland’s emergency oil stocks.
Since 2007, in line with IEA and Government policy, NORA has been pursuing a policy of reducing dependency on stock tickets (paper contracts to deliver oil in an emergency) as well as repatriating stocks held abroad to the island of Ireland, subject to value for money considerations. In 2006, 51% of NORA stocks were held in Ireland, 10% were held as physical stocks abroad, while 40% were held as stock tickets. By 2013, the picture had changed dramatically with 73% of NORA emergency stocks held as physical stocks on the island of Ireland and 27% held as physical stocks in other EU Member States under Bilateral Agreements or Memoranda of Understanding, with no requirement for stock tickets.
By successfully rebalancing its stocks in favour of physical stocks on the island of Ireland, NORA helps ensure that emergency stocks are easily physically accessible and available in an emergency situation. This significantly enhances the security of Irish oil supply and is in line with EU requirements under the new Oil Stocks Directive (2009/119/EC). The EU has also encouraged Member States to reduce dependency on stock tickets.
The stocks included in the “Island of Ireland” figures above include NORA stocks in Northern Ireland, which amount to approximately 9% of Ireland’s emergency stocks. Since 2011, NORA has completed three key storage refurbishment projects at Ringsend (Dublin), Kilroot (Antrim) and Tarbert (Kerry.) These storage developments form a key part of NORA’s ongoing plans for the steady rebalancing of stocks from abroad onto the island of Ireland.
NORA has maximised its storage in all available storage facilities in Ireland, and has steadily increased its stockholding to meet its ongoing obligations. NORA is continuing on its quest to develop further storage on the island of Ireland, and a number of options are being considered. This work will continue with a view to identifying and implementing the most beneficial plans for NORA in meeting its obligations in future years and underpinning security of supply.