On 19 March, the Polish Ministry of Economy published a new draft regulation on the diversification of gas supplies.

The current regulation, which dates from 2000, is criticised because of the ambiguity of the key provisions and the fact that it is inadequate for current market conditions.

The draft regulation introduces two definitions of key terms which are missing in the current law – “import” (of gas) and (gas) “source”. The first is defined as import of gas in the meaning of Polish excise tax regulations (i.e. excluding intra-Community acquisition), and additionally excluding supplies from EFTA member states – parties to EEA agreement. Gas “source” is defined as a business entity from which gas is acquired for the purpose of import. Moreover, provisions in the new wording will state that the maximum amount of imported gas from one source, in relation to the total amount of gas sold by an energy company on the territory of Poland in a given year, may not exceed 59% in 2015-2018 and 49% in 2019-2025 (in the existing regulation the percentage proportion is related to the total amount of gas imported to Poland). As a result, EU/EEA gas will not need to be diversified with supplies from other directions (as is already the practice under the existing regulation), and, which is major change, it will be possible to use EU/EEA gas supplies  (if sold in Poland) for diversifying gas supplies from other directions, in particular from the East. Moreover, gas extracted in Poland can be taken into account for that purpose, if sold in Poland.

The draft regulation also states that for the purpose of calculating the maximum amount of imported gas, gas imported from sources within one capital group is considered as gas from one source. This and the definition of “source” imply that supplies should be considered as properly diversified if gas is bought from unrelated companies, even if they are from the same country and selling gas from the same country of origin (understood as the location of extraction facilities). Moreover, the new regulation will introduce the possibility to settle the diversification obligation by a group of entities together, subject to prior notification of the Regulator.

The draft will now undergo public consultations, which are scheduled to end at the beginning of April 2015.