On Tuesday, the executive of the European Union said that the law on natural gas storage of Poland violates the rules of the European Union on the security of gas supplies, giving Warsaw only two months to address the concerns.
In the summer of 2017, Poland amended a bill on obligatory oil and gas reserves in order to set conditions that are requiring private gas companies that want to import gas to retain some reserves.
Under the said bill, importers of gas that has inventories abroad will be required to book transmission capacity at cross-border links so that they can be able to send gas to Poland in case of emergency.
In a statement, the European Commission stated: “The conditions to fulfil the obligation by storing gas abroad in practice make such storage less attractive and more cumbersome than storing in Poland.
“The Commission is of the view that the Polish gas storage obligation is incompatible with the EU measures to safeguard the security of gas supply.”
Once perceived as a champion of democratic change following the downfall of Communism, Poland has been involved in disputes with Brussels since the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party came to power in 2015 regarding issues that are ranging from immigration and environment to the rule of law of the country.
The energy ministry of Poland played down the concerns of the Commission, saying that they were part of a “routine analysis” regarding the compliance of national laws with the regulations of the European Union.
On its website, the ministry stated: “The Minister of Energy positively assesses the functioning of the current system of security of supplies.
“The recent (law) changes have positively affected the level of energy security.”
Various smaller Polish players in the gas market have since criticised the said bill, saying that it is unfair and will result in the increase of gas prices in Poland.
If Poland is unable to address the concerns of the European Union, the Commission may opt to send “a reasoned opinion,” which would have the procedures of infringement further and could result in the referral of the case to the European Court of Justice.