Emergency crude oil stockpiles helped during the shutdown of the Druzhba pipeline.

Emergency stockpiles of crude oil and oil products are of extraordinary importance for the Czech Republic. The last time it turned out was in May 2019. There was contaminated oil the Druzhba pipeline and it had to be shut down. Not a single litre of Russian crude oil flowed into the Czech Republic for a whole month, and the country had to rely on the emergency stockpiles.

Thanks to the fact that we lent crude oil from Czech reserves to Unipetrol, the refinery in Litvínov, which processes Russian sulphur crude oil and which supplies the Czech market with diesel fuel, did not have to be shut down.

During this one-month shutdown of the Druzhba pipeline, the V4 countries (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia) released almost 2 million tons of crude oil from their reserves. Unipetrol alone borrowed over 250,000 tons from Czech stockpiles.

Czech drivers did not know anything; neither petrol nor diesel become more expensive, and Czech industry did not know it either. For example, asphalt for highways was still being produced.

How does it work?

A possible state of oil emergency is declared by government regulation. It is also entitled to lay down regulatory measures for the use of stockpiles of crude oil and oil products from key suppliers, to introduce an allocation system, or to temporarily restrict or prohibit the export of crude oil and oil products. The proposal for the use of emergency stockpiles is submitted to the government by the Chairman of the Administration. In the event of a state of oil emergency, the government sets a deadline for replenishing the used stockpiles.

The SSHR is the only central stockpile manager in the Czech Republic and ensures the creation, maintenance and use of emergency stockpiles. The Administration also has large reserves of oil, petrol, diesel, and kerosene. It would take the Czech Republic 83 days to consume them.

In addition to the military, these emergency supplies are also used by units of the Integrated Rescue System. If a state of emergency is declared in a region, then firefighters, police officers, and rescuers can come to the nearest gas station and refuel a full tank on the SSHR Crisis Card. As a result, they do not linger and can help quickly and efficiently. The SSHR will then replenish the fuel to the distributors from this emergency stockpile. It’s faster and more efficient than transporting the fuel directly to the affected area.

At this moment, we have over 900 petrol stations of Benzina, MOL, and Čepro, which operate the EuroOil station network, connected to this system. This means that you can refuel using our crisis cards at every third petrol station today. So we have the whole republic covered.

What is NESO?

In case of crisis, NESO is convened. It is an advisory body to the President of the SSHR, which monitors the situation in the area of crude oil and oil product supplies. It proposes measures in the event of a disruption of these supplies. NESO also ensures the coordination of national emergency measures, cooperation with the domestic petrochemical industry, and coordination with the emergency measures of the IEA and the European Union – the European Commission. In the case of a decision by the IEA on joint action, it collects, processes, and distributes inquiries and voluntary offers from the IEA Secretariat and monitors their implementation.

Organizationally, NESO consists of three working groups – a working group of central administrative authorities, a group of representatives of the Czech Petroleum Industry and Trade (ČAPPO) and the NESO secretariat. The secretariat consists of the SSHR oil security department and representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the CZSO.

In total, NESO has approximately 20 members. Outside the state of oil emergency, NESO meets as needed, but at least once a year.

The first group includes representatives of the relevant organizational units of the SSHR and representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Transport, Interior, Defence, Finance, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Czech Petroleum Industry and Trade working group consists of, for example, representatives of the Czech Petroleum Industry and Trade, Unipetrol RPA, MERO ČR, a. s., ČEPRO, a.s., MOL Česká republika, s.r.o.,

Further Activities

The Administration of State Material Reserves, namely the Department of Oil Security, also provides educational (methodical) activities in the field of oil security. These are focused mainly on the general issues of oil security in the Czech Republic, international aspects of oil security and approaches to its solution in the EU, IEA, and the North Atlantic Alliance. It also deals with crisis legislation related to emergency oil stockpiles, planning documents for oil emergencies and crisis preparedness plans of critical infrastructure entities in the crude oil and oil products sector.