2 Mar 2022

New Zealand to contribute in global oil stocks release - Minister

2:48 pm on 2 March 2022

Energy Minister Megan Woods has agreed to releasing emergency oil stocks along with other member states of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Megan Woods at a media conference in Christchurch 24 February 2022.

Photo: RNZ / Nathan Mckinnon

Russia is the world's third-largest crude oil producer, and it has withheld supplies to Europe in response to sanctions over its war on Ukraine.

Members of the IEA are required to hold stocks equivalent to at least 90 days of net oil imports. New Zealand buys and holds emergency reserve stocks offshore.

Woods confirmed New Zealand would contribute to the release of 60 million barrels of oil, after a special meeting of more than 30 energy ministers in the early hours this morning.

"In the immediate term, this collective action by IEA countries will ensure there is less volatility in oil prices, as a result of the market impact from Russia's invasion of Ukraine," she said.

She said oil and gas prices had reached an eight-year high of $US105, and the action by IEA member countries would ensure less volatility.

"Russia has used its position as the third largest crude oil producer in the world and the second-largest oil exporter to weaponise energy, withholding oil and gas supplies to Europe in the months before the invasion contributing to pushing up oil and gas prices."

A process was now under way to determine what voluntary contributions member countries could make, Woods said.

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