The National Energy Regulatory Authority – ANRE intends to amend the implementing rules of GEO 114/2018, so that Romania avoids a new stage of an infringement procedure in the gas sector, respectively at the European Court of Justice.
The information appears in the note of foundation of a draft order, by which the representatives of ANRE want to modify two own Orders and the Methodology for establishing the quantities of natural gas that the producers have the obligation to sell with priority to the domestic consumers.
ANRE officials point out that, based on the principles of European law supremacy and loyal cooperation, Member States have the obligation to repeal national rules contrary to EU law or not to apply them, as the case may be, an obligation for all national authorities, including administrative ones. Under threat of the advanced procedures in which an infringement file was entered, ANRE discovers that it has the national legal framework to drastically restrict the application of the measures of GEO 114/2010 and GEO 19/2019 that have distorted the oil and natural gas market. Thus, ANRE speaks about the Law on electricity and natural gas no. 123/2012 – art. 99 lit. b), c), e), i) and l), art. 122 paragraph (1) lit. h) – and GEO 33/2007, adopted by Law 160/2012, on the organization and functioning of the National Energy Regulatory Authority – art. 5 paragraph (1) lit. c) and f), of art. 8 lit. c) and of art. 10 paragraph (1) lit. a) and q).
The changes are mainly meant to reduce the duration of applicability of regulated prices for domestic natural gas production until March 2020, against February 2022, a term currently in place, as introduced by GEO 114/2018. ANRE intends to eliminate earlier the producers’ obligation to sell their production with priority in order to ensure the complete consumption needs of domestic customers and heat producers; this was the main observation of the European Commission in the infringement file opened against Romania. The Commission considers that the current Romanian legal framework, by imposing on the Romanian producers the obligation to give priority to sales on the domestic market, creates unjustified barriers to gas exports from Romania and, therefore, called for these barriers to be eliminated.
In July, the Commission issued a reasoned opinion, and Romania has a deadline on September 26 to amend the legislation, otherwise the file will go to the European Court of Justice, and Romania risks paying fines starting September 27.