MADRID – Spain is releasing two million barrels of oil from its “strategic reserves” to support the Ukrainian military. The Spanish government approved this on Friday. Furthermore, this is a coordinated action with the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Moreover, the amount represents 2.6 days of Spain’s reserves, according to government spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez. EFE news agency reports that the measure came into effect on Saturday 5 March after publication in the Spanish Official Gazette BOE.
Meeting Spanish Prime Minister and President EC
On Saturday, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, visited Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Madrid. There they discussed the war in Ukraine and its impact on European energy markets.
Both agreed that actions at EU level should be coordinated to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable. Resulting measures to this end should be aimed at a possible reduction in the energy bill for the poor.
Measures against dependence on Russian gas and oil
Later this week, EU leaders will gather in an extraordinary meeting in Versailles. There they will propose measures to reduce dependence on gas and oil imports from Russia and tackle price increases. Furthermore, Spain has been urging its EU partners to do this for months.
The release of Spain’s strategic oil reserves is one of the extraordinary measures Spain is taking to mitigate the effects of the war in Ukraine, Sanchez told parliament on Wednesday.
Prevention of shortages
At a meeting last Tuesday, the International Energy Agency agreed to release 60 million barrels of oil. These barrels of oil come from the strategic reserves of its members around the world. Herewith, the IEA wants to guarantee that there will be no shortages after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Protecting stability and avoiding excessive volatility
According to Rodríguez, Spain wants to send a “strong and coordinated message” to global oil markets about the country’s commitment to protect stability and avoid undue volatility. Therefore, the Spanish government wants to “provide security and tranquility to the markets,” she added. Furthermore, Rodríguez recalled that the European Council of Energy Ministers agreed last Monday that Ukraine will be the “preferred destination” of these oil reserves.
Arms shipment from Spain
Meanwhile, the first of two Spanish Air Force transport planes took off on Friday. This plane was carrying the first direct shipment of arms that Spain is donating to Ukraine via Poland, EFE reported. Subsequently, a second A400M flew on Saturday with a new weapons shipment. The plan was to deliver the two shipments this weekend to an undisclosed point near the Polish-Ukrainian border. These are 1,370 mobile anti-tank grenade launchers, 700,000 machine gun cartridges, and light machine guns.