Decree-Law no. 244/2015 of 19 October undertakes the first amendment to Decree-Law no. 31/2006 of 15 February regarding the general foundations for the organisation and operation of the National Petroleum System, as well as general rules applicable to downstream stage activities

The first amendment to Portugal’s law on the National Petroleum System was published on19 October 2015.  The new law (Decree-Law no. 244/2015) establishes a set of measures that aim to improve the oil market, promoting transparency and non-discrimination in benefit of the consumers. This new law enters into force on 17 January 2016, with exception of the regime regarding access of third parties to infrastructures and regulation which will become effective on 17 March 2016.

The previous law, which dates back to 2006, addresses the organization and operation of the National Petroleum System, as well as the general rules applicable to storage, transportation, distribution, refining and commercialization activities and organization of crude oil and refined product markets.

Over all, the new law aims to promote competition and ensure proper satisfaction of the public service obligations, of note are the following provisions:

  1. New rules regarding access to logistics centres and large-scale facilities for storage and pipeline transportation  of crude oil and refined products, as well as new rules regarding the resolution of physical constraints in accessing facilities for storage and pipeline transportation   declared to be of public interest;
  2. New rules regarding both legal and ownership unbundling between, on one hand, entities performing storage and pipeline transportation  of crude oil and refined products and, on the other hand, entities performing refining, pipeline distribution and commercialization of refined products;
  3. New rules regarding accounting unbundling between entities performing refining, storage, transportation, distribution and commercialization of refined products;
  4. New obligations regarding the registry and certification with the competent national authority (ENMC - Entidade Nacional para o Mercado dos Combustíveis, E.P.E.);
  5. New rules regarding the commercialization of LPG, among others, addressing the possibility of commercialization of bottled LPG in weight calibration units, as well as information obligations and bottle exchange without additional costs for consumers;
  6. Clarification of ENMC's competences regarding monitoring and supervision of the National Petroleum System; and
  7. A penalty regime in order to ensure compliance with the rules applicable to the oil market.

Under the new legal framework, the activities integrated in the National Petroleum System remain subject to public service obligations to ensure that security, regularity and quality of supply and consumer protection are provided on a free and competitive basis.

The Decree-Law no. 244/2015, of 19 October is available by clicking here.

For legal instruments of additional interest within this sector, please see:

  • Council Directive 2009/119/EC, of 14 September 2009, which imposes an obligation on Member States to maintain minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products;
  • Decree-Law no. 165/2013, of 16 December, which transposes into the national legal system Council Directive 2009/119/EC (above), and restructures and renames Entidade Gestora de Reservas Estratégias de Produtos Petrolíferos, E.P.E., now called Entidade Nacional para o Mercado de Combustíveis, E.P.E.;
  • Order no. 13279-D/2014 of the Secretary of State for Energy, published in the Official Gazette no. 211, 2nd Series of 31 October 2014, which establishes the composition of the National Council for Fuels;
  • Decree-Law no. 339-D/2001, of 28 December, amended by Decree-Law no. 242/2008, of 18 December, which creates Entidade Gestora de Reservas Estratégias de Produtos Petrolíferos, E.P.E. and approves the correspondent statutes.