Poland: Changes in the legislation on mandatory fuel reserves
On 17 July 2017 the Polish President signed the amendment to the Polish Act on Petroleum and Natural Gas Reserves and the Principles for Dealing with Threats to National Energy Security. The new law is intended to protect the transmission of gas supplies to the country in the event of any disturbances in deliveries. According to the government, its primary objective is to strengthen the safety of consumers and to facilitate trading companies as well as to resolve interpretation doubts.
The new regulations provide that from 1 October 2017 gas importers that keep their mandatory stocks abroad must - in order to ensure their ability to send them to Poland in the event of energy crisis - hold permanent transmission capacity on cross-border connections (interconnectors). The reserved potential should guarantee all stocks to be shipped to any country within a maximum period of 40 days and cannot be used for any other purpose, such as trading. Any performance inconsistent with the these provisions will be punishable by a fine - from 1 to 15% of annual revenue of company concerned.
The definition of a gas importer has been also introduced. According to the bill, it is a natural person, a legal entity or another organisational unit without legal personality which owns any kind of gas transmission system and supplies natural gas to Poland on its own.
Mandatory gas reserves are required to be stored physically only in dedicated facilities connected to a transmission or distribution system. The legislation specifies the obligations of storage system operators to ensure the maintenance of compulsory stocks at a certain level. Gas importers will be obliged to provide the transmission system operator with information on the storage location in order to verify the technical feasibility of their supply.
The new law will come into force on 2 August 2017. 5 August 2017 is the deadline for submission requests revocation of licences for international gas trading or declarations of the intention to cease gas imports. Companies that fill such applications will be exempted from the obligation to maintain mandatory reserves.