The EU Energy Council has issued a directive aimed at aligning emergency stocks with the oil-sharing programme of the International Energy Agency, it has been announced.

Volume requirements for emergency stocks continue to be based on 90 days of net imports.

But under the new directive, countries will also have to assure that at least a third of the stored oil corresponds to consumption patterns.

The stocks must be owned by member states or a stockholding agency, or be held under arrangements ensuring the same level of public control, the Energy Council has stated.

The directive gives the EU new powers to review and audit stocks held by its members and to respond quickly to supply emergencies in cooperation with IEA.

EU membership has expanded since IEA implemented its emergency oil-sharing system in the 1970s but not all EU members belong to IEA.

The directive takes effect after publication in the Official Journal and must be transposed into national laws by the end of 2012.