Explanation of the Public Column

This column includes both government-owned stocks and specialised stockholding organisation stocks held for emergency purposes. This may include stocks held in other countries under bilateral agreements (see “of which, stocks held abroad”).  This column does not include any amounts of oil the government or stockholding organisation may be holding for the benefit of another country under a bilateral agreement. Such stocks are reported under the country for which they are being held.

Governments stocks are typically financed through the central government budget and held exclusively for emergency purposes.

Some countries have a stockholding arrangement that involves establishing a separate agency endowed with the responsibility of holding all or part of the stock obligation. The agency structure and arrangements vary from country to country. Several countries have government-sponsored schemes (e.g. Belgium, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain). Others are industry-led and/or industry-created initiatives (e.g. Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and Switzerland). Most agency stocks are held under a co-operative cost-sharing arrangement of the industry.