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Brussels, 31st January 2008

The Commission asks Poland to correct its procedures for granting rights over oil and gas resources

Community legislation seeks to ensure non-discriminatory access to and prospection, exploration and production of hydrocarbons. The Commission has noted a number of shortcomings regarding the conformity of the implementing measures adopted by the Republic of Poland. It is feared these will have adverse effects on competition in this sector.

The European Commission has now decided to send a reasoned opinion to Poland regarding the non-conformity of some of Poland’s laws and regulations with European legislation[1].

A letter of formal notice setting out a number of objections raised by the Commission was sent to the Polish authorities back in March 2007. As Poland has not provided a satisfactory reply, the Commission has decided to initiate infringement proceedings.

Community legislation in particular requires that all interested parties must be able to apply to be granted rights, that the final choice of applicant must be based on objective, non-discriminatory criteria and that the conditions and requirements regarding the performance or termination of the activity must be defined and made available at any time to interested parties.

However, Poland’s procedures do not seem to meet all these requirements. For example, Polish legislation requires interested parties to be registered. Furthermore, the manner in which the conditions and requirements regarding the performance or termination of the activity are laid down and made available cannot be considered to be in conformity with the Directive.

Poland will have two months to respond to the reasoned opinion. The Commission will then decide whether the matter should be referred to the Court of Justice.

[1] Directive 94/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 1994 on the conditions for granting and using authorizations for the prospection, exploration and production of hydrocarbons

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