The Obligation of Strategic Gas Storage Introduced in Poland as an Example of a Public Service Obligation Relating to Supply Security: A Question of Compliance with European Law
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This paper presents the system for the strategic storage of gas imposed by the Act on Fuel Reserves and evaluates its compliance with the relevant provisions of EU law, in particular the so-called 2nd and 3rd Internal Energy Market Packages. Unlike the case of legislation on strategic oil stocks, EU legislation on gas does not impose on Member States any obligation to maintain strategic reserves of gas. Furthermore, Member States are obliged to implement common rules establishing an internal market in natural gas including Third Party Access (TPA) to storage facilities. However, Member States are allowed to impose on undertakings operating in the gas sector, in the general economic interest, public service obligations which may relate to supply security, and EU law recognizes the contribution of gas storage to the security of supply. Thus, the objective of this article is to evaluate whether the Act on Fuel Reserves as well as the amendments to it proposed by the Polish Ministry of the Economy are in line with the relevant provisions of EU law. The analysis includes the position of the Court of Justice presented in several judgements as regards the concept of public service obligations.
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