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Regulatory Framework and Legislation

ΜΕΝΟΥ

The import and trading of natural gas in Greece was regulated by law 2364/6.12.1995 (OGG Α’ 252). Today, the provisions of the specific Law, as amended and in force, remain largely in force to the extent they have not been repealed by more recent arrangements, and they regulate the distribution of natural gas through the establishment of Gas Supply Companies (EPA) which are granted a Distribution License for a specific period of time and the right to exclusive supply of natural gas to non-eligible customers.

With a view to incorporate into national law the provisions of European Directives and Regulations on the common rules in the internal gas market (Directive 2003/55/EC and Regulation (EC) 1775/2005, which make up the 2nd energy package), Law 3428/27.12.2005 (OGG Α’ 313) on the "Liberalization of the Natural Gas Market" was adopted, and the Ministerial Decision No. 4955/27.3.06 (OGG Β’ 360) on the "Tariff for natural gas transportation and LNG gasification" was delivered, as subsequently amended by Ministerial Decisions Δ1/23344/7.12.06 (OGG Β’ 1781) and Δ1/5037/20.3.07 (OGG Β’ 379) (charges based on outlet capacities-postage stamp). At the same time, and until the issuance under Law 3428/2005 of a secondary law to regulate the natural gas market operation, the Ministerial Decision Δ1/1227/5.2.2007 (OGG Β’ 135) provided for the terms of access to the National Natural Gas System (ESFA).
 
The aforementioned secondary law of the natural gas market took effect in mid 2000 through a series of ministerial decisions, relating to the following:

  • "ESFA Management Code" (Original Version), Ministerial Decision Δ1/Α/5346/1.4.10, OGG Β’ 379

  • "ESFA Users Registry Regulation", Ministerial Decision Δ1/Α/5816/16.4.10, OGG Β’ 451

  • "Natural Gas Licenses Regulation", Ministerial Decision Δ1/Α/5815/19.4.10, OGG Β’ 464

  • "ESFA Measurements Regulation", Ministerial Decision Δ1/Α/7754/6.5.10, OGG Β’ 584

  • "Modification of natural gas transportation and liquefied natural gas gasification tariff", Ministerial Decision Δ1/Α/1110/9860/31.5.10 OGG Β 747.

    At the same time, the "Standard Contracts for natural gas transportation and LNG facility use" were issued according to the provisions of ESFA Management Code, under RAE decision No. 611/9.4.2010 (OGG Β’ 480).

     
    Then, in order to align the Greek state laws to the provisions of the 3rd energy package, as laid down in Directive 2009/73/-EC and Regulations (EC) No. 713/2009 and No. 715/2009, the new energy law 4001/22.8.2011 (OGG Α’ 179) was adopted, which replaced for the most part Law 3428/2005 and incorporated the individual provisions of the above Directive and Regulations, aiming at the further smooth integration of the natural gas internal market and the establishment of equal terms of competition for all natural gas business operating within the European Union. To this end, it became mandatory to separate networks from supply and production activities by adopting three alternative models (ownership unbundling, ISO, ITO), since it was considered that the legal and functional unbundling stipulated in the previous repealed Directive 2003/55/EC did not deliver good results in relation to the above intended purpose. 
    Specifically with regard to the unbundling of natural gas transportation and supply activities, the adoption of the ownership unbundling model that was initially adopted under Law 4001/2011, was replaced by the Act of Legislative Content dated 16.12.2011 (OGG Α’ 262), by opting for the Independent Transportation Operator (ITO) model, with the option to choose the Ownership Unbundling model in the future. The provisions of Law 4001/2011 regarding the Independent System Operator were amended by Law 4093/12.11.2012 (OGG Α’ 222/12.11.2012), the Act of Legislative Content OGG Α’229/19.11.12 and Law 4111/2013 (OGG Α' 18/25.01.2013).
     
    Several amendments were made to Law 4001/2011, the most important of which are the following:

  • Article 17 par. 13 of Law 4203/2013 (OGG Α’ 235) and article 2 par. 2 of Law 4336/2015 (OGG Α' 94/14.8.2015) amended article 73 of Law 4001/2011 on security of supply to be aligned to the European Regulation 994/2010. Article 17 par. 12 of Law 4203/2013 amended article 2 par. 2 of Law 4001/2011 and then, under the aforementioned law, the Ministerial Decision No. Δ1/Β/10233/13.06.2014 was issued (OGG 1684/24.06.2014 bulletin Β') specifying the categories of Protected Consumers of natural gas.

  • Article 55 par. 8 of Law 4223/2013 (OGG Α’ 287), which replaced the second section of par. 4, article 85 of Law 4001/2011, extended the effect of the provisions of article 24 of Law 3175/2003 (relating to ToP clauses) until 31.12.2015

  • Chapters Α’, Β’ and C’ of subparagraph Β.1 of Law 4336/2015 (OGG Α’ 94/14.8.15) amended and supplemented the provisions of Law 4001/2001, as amended and in force. The new provisions are mainly related to the restructuring of the natural gas distribution framework in Greece (obligation for legal unbundling of natural gas distribution and supply activities) and the expansion of the definition of Eligible Customer.

    On 14/10/2011, the first (1st) Revision of ESFA Management Code was put into force under RAE decision No. 1096/2011 (OGG Β- 2227), after more than a year since the effective launch of the liberalized market in Greece. The revision aimed at supplementing-improving the provisions of the Code, and attempting its alignment to the general provisions of the European Gas Target Model. As a result of said revision, RAE decision No. 126/2.3.2012 (OGG 907/23.4.2012) approved once again the Standard Contracts for natural gas transportation and LNG facility use, which are now in line with the Code provisions.

    On 5.7.12 RAE decision No. 594/2012 was published (OGG Β’ 2093/5.7.2012), approving the ESFA Tariff Regulation for basic activities, which adopted the tariff system with independent charges for inlet and outlet capacities, and on 27.8.12 RAE decision No. 722/2012 (OGG Β’ 2385) was published, approving ESFA Usage Tariff. The new tariff system is being used as of February 1, 2013, replacing Ministerial Decision No. 4955/2006.

    Then, on 9/12/13, the second (2nd) Revision of ESFA Management Code was put into force (OGG Β’3131/9.12.2013) with a view to adapting it, mainly, to the provisions of the Tariff Regulation and to the provisions of European Regulations on Security of Supply (EC994/2010) and congestion management measures (amendment EC715/2009/24.8.12), and on 27/12/2013 the new Standard Contracts for natural gas transportation and LNG were published (RAE decision No. 635/19.12.13, OGG Β’ 3325/27.12.13). The provisions of said Code will be amended in order to incorporate provisions of the issued European Regulation on Capacity Allocation (EC984/14.10.13) as well as of those pending publication, relating to Balancing, Interoperability of Systems and Access Tariffs. The 2nd revision of ESFA Code is posted on our website as unofficial translation in English, edited by DEPA.

    Furthermore, with a view to align Greek legislation to Directive 2006/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on energy end-use efficiency and energy services (which was replaced by 2012/27/EU), Law 3855/23.6.2010 (OGG 95/23.6.2010) was adopted, laying down measures for the improvement of energy end-use efficiency. Under Law 3855/2010, the Ministerial Decision Δ5/Β/29891/30.12.2011 (OGG 3254/30.12.2011) was issued, laying down the obligations of energy distributors, distribution network operators and energy retail businesses for the provision of energy end-use data. Furthermore, with a view to align Greek legislation to Directive 2010/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Law 4122/19.2.2013 (OGG Α’ 42) was adopted, on the Energy Efficiency of Buildings.

    The provisions of article 12 (Chapter Α΄) of Law 4233/29.1.2014 (OGG Α΄22) laid down the rules for converting vehicle engines into double-fuel engines, namely for using conventional fuels and compressed natural gas (CNG), and under said provisions the Ministerial Decision No. 10852/715/14/2014 (OGG 1466/Β/2014) was issued, setting forth the technical specifications of the special equipment needed for using CNG and the other terms and conditions for verifying their safe circulation.

    Decision No. 13935/930/18.3.2014 (OGG 674Β/18.03.2014) of the Minister of Transport and Networks, issued under article 45 of Law 2773/1999 as in force, laid down the competent bodies, the terms and conditions for the establishment and operation of compressed natural gas (CNG) distribution stations and mixed liquid fuel stations.