Ireland is not expected to experience oil supply difficulties over the coming months, however the Department of Environment has carried out modelling in the event of "significant diesel shortages" should supply become an issue.

The Department has told the Irish Farmers Journal that it carries out regular contingency planning and chairs oil emergency training exercises.

“One such training exercise took place on 26 May. Hypothetical scenarios were considered. In hypothetical scenarios, the oil emergency response plan and the oil stock drawdown plan include how, in the event of a release of strategic oil stocks, the stock would be distributed to the oil sector (to maintain supply).

“The exercise involved various contingency measures – in response to scenarios that modelled supply disruptions of varying degrees,” the Department said.

Measures included the release to the market of oil stocks managed by the National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) from the State’s strategic oil reserve.

“The measures also included the prioritisation of fuel to emergency and critical services. Also included were communication aspects, including the need to conserve fuel in an oil emergency.

"In particular, the scenarios included modelling of significant diesel shortages,” it said.

Worst case scenarios

In the context of worst-case scenarios, a number of service stations would be deemed designated critical service stations.

“These would ensure that fuel would be available for emergency and critical services in extreme circumstances. A list of such service stations is compiled with the assistance of industry body Fuels for Ireland.

“Emergency planning also includes measures around the identification and prioritisation of critical services, and personnel within these services, to ensure the provision of fuel to these,” it said.

Oil security

In terms of oil security overall, Ireland is “reasonably well insulated from direct supply shocks”, with diverse supply chains and now with suppliers voluntarily moving away from imports of oil originating in Russia, the Department said.

As part of the State’s EU and International Energy Agency (IEA) obligations, NORA currently holds approximately 85 days of strategic stocks.

If required, NORA is ready to place this stock onto the market to meet shortfalls.

“Normally NORA holds 90 days stock, but some NORA stocks were released recently as part of co-ordinated global releases of reserves agreed by members of the IEA, with member countries requested by the IEA not to replenish stocks until November, to avoid putting pressure on the oil markets,” it added.