The government intends to gain full control of underground natural gas storage tanks and will have three energy-related legislative amendments fast-tracked in parliament, Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek said at a news conference on January 28.
“The state will be entitled to assign potential users of the underground storage tanks. The state will also gain powers to grant, through the Economy Ministry, natural gas storage or extraction capacity leasing rights,” said Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek following the weekly government policy meeting.
“The state will have, at any point in time, enough information to be able to evaluate the actual status of storage tanks and be able to take operational action,” Jahnátek said. A state of emergency can arise during a disruption of gas supplies to Slovakia as well from a terrorist attack, according to Jahnátek, the TASR newswire wrote.
Under the bill, natural gas underground storage tank operators will be obliged to store reserves lasting for at least 30 days. As for the extraction capacities, the Economy Ministry will have, in emergency times, powers to suspend extraction capacities for customers outside of Slovakia and use them preferentially for the country's needs” said Jahnátek.
A bill amending the law on regulation of network industries is designed to augment the powers of the Authority for Regulation of Network Industries (URSO).
“Not only will it regulate prices for gas storage but it will also give powers at any moment to inspect the way storage tanks are used or whether they are used in favour of Slovakia,” Jahnátek said.
The new legislation is being sought to prevent a repeat of a natural gas crisis like the one Slovakia found itself in throughout much of January when deliveries of gas were suspended by a dispute between Russia and Ukraine. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
29. Jan 2009 at 14:00