What are the primary laws and regulations governing the oil and gas industry in your jurisdiction?
The principal laws governing oil and gas activities are the following;
- the Petroleum (Production) Act (Chapter 156 of the Laws of Malta);
- the Petroleum (Production) Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 156.01);
- the Offshore Safety (Oil and Gas) Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 156.02);
- the Continental Shelf Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 535.02);
- the Natural Gas Market Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 545.12); and
- the Petroleum for the Inland (Wholesale) Fuel Market, Bottling of LPG and Primary Storage Facilities Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 545.17)
Which government bodies regulate the oil and gas industry and what is the extent of their powers?
The authority to grant oil and gas rights and to regulate oil and gas exploration and production rests with the prime minister.
The regulation of all other energy resources-related activities falls within the remit of the Regulator for Energy and Water Services. Save for exploration and production activity, no energy-related activities can be carried out in Malta without the regulator’s authorisation.
The main functions of the regulator include:
- regulating and monitoring all energy practices and operations;
- licensing energy-related activities;
- securing interconnectivity for the production, transmission and distribution of energy services and products;
- regulating price mechanisms for the production, sale, storage and distribution of energy products; and
- safeguarding the interests of consumers.
Matters relating to the safety of offshore oil and gas operations are regulated by both the government and the Offshore Safety (Oil and Gas) Board.
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