The 2013 Act on Emergency Stocks (AES) provides the legal framework for Slovakia’s oil emergency response measures. Further details concerning oil emergencies are provided by the Emergency plan (article 14(4) AES).
For the purposes of the AES, an oil crisis exists when there is a serious threat, disruption or suspension of oil and oil product supplies within the Slovak Republic (article 2(m) AES). Further, article 13(1) AES provides that an oil crisis exists if the average monthly net oil and oil products import, compared with the average monthly net import in the previous year, drops to such an extent or may be expected to drop to such an extent that the adverse consequences thereof cannot be eliminated or prevented without the Slovak Government taking action in accordance with the AES. Emergency stocks may also be released in response to a corresponding decision of the International Energy Agency (IEA) or the European Commission (article 14(7) AES).
Whether or not an oil crisis exists is determined by means of a decree issued by the Slovak Government (article 13(1) AES). The Slovak Administration of State Material Reserves (ASMR) previously proposes to declare an oil crisis (article 13(2) AES). According to article 13(5) AES Slovak oil emergency measures can also be taken in order to facilitate Slovakia’s compliance with international treaties.
The Central Stockholding Entity (CSE) of the Slovak Republic is the Emergency Oil Stocks Agency (EOSA) (articles 6, 15 AES). The EOSA is supervised by the ASMR (article 14(11) AES). Apart from the EOSA Slovak emergency stocks may also be owned by entrepreneurs pursuant to special storage agreements (article 8(2-3) AES).
According to article 7(1) AES, the EOSA shall hold a volume of emergency stocks amounting to the higher of the 90-day average daily net imports of oil and oil products or the 61-day average daily inland consumption during the previous calendar year. Oil shall represent at least 50 per cent of the emergency stocks (article 6(4) AES). The EOSA is entitled to hold special stocks as defined in article 12 AES if the ASMR so requires.
Availability of stocks
The EOSA shall hold the stocks in a manner that ensures the stock’s permanent availability (6(2)(c) AES).
Slovak primary legislation does not specify the geographic locations of emergency stock storage facilities. However, article 9 AES provides details concerning the modalities of storing emergency stocks.
Sale of excess stocks
The EOSA is entitled to sell emergency stocks exceeding 105 per cent of the minimum stockholding obligation if the sale price exceeds the procurement price and if, as a result of the sale, the stock level does not drop below 105 per cent of the minimum stockholding obligation (article 11 AES).
The Slovak AES provides for various emergency measures which may be resorted to in accordance with an emergency plan prepared by the ASMR (article 14(4) AES). Emergency plan provides a detailed overview of the different stages of emergency measures ranging from public mass media campaigns to obligatory restraint measures.
According to article 14(6) AES, the Slovak government may, upon a proposal by the ASMR, authorise the release of emergency stocks. The ASMR can also propose the release of emergency stocks in response to a corresponding decision of the IEA or the European Commission (article 14(7) AES).
Article 10(2) provides that if a decision that emergency stocks are to be released has been made, the EOSA is obliged to release the authorised amount of emergency stocks.
Article 14(1) AES envisions that before resorting to oil emergency measures, the Slovak government may initiate a communication campaign aiming at the voluntary restriction of the consumption of oil an oil products. In addition to such voluntary measures, measures may be adopted inter alia regulating the speed limit of motorised vehicles (article 14(2)(a) AES), limiting or prohibiting the use of certain categories of motorised vehicles (article 14(2)(b) AES) or temporarily limiting or banning the export of oil and oil products (article 14(2)(f) AES).
According to article 14(3) AES, regulations concerning the ban or limitation of oil exports can only be implemented in so far as they do not violate Slovakia’s International Energy Programme (IEP) or European Union (EU) obligations. Further, exemptions from emergency measures shall be granted with respect to groups of persons or activities in cases of danger to life, health or property (article 14(10) AES).
Slovakia’s emergency regime is monitored and enforced on the domestic, regional and international level. Each will be considered in turn.
Entrepreneurs and relevant state administration bodies are, upon request, obliged to provide the ASMR with all required information (article 5 AES). Specifically, the EOSA is obliged to regularly inform the ASMR with respect to the current state of emergency stocks (article 6(8-9) AES). The ASMR is in turn obliged to report regularly to the Slovak government, to the EU and to the IEA concerning the state of emergency stocks (article 21(4-10) AES).
The ASMR monitors the implementation of the provisions of the AES (article 22 AES). In particular, the implementation of demand restraint measures is enforced and monitored by various executive authorities including the police, trade authorities and custom authorities (article 22(2) AES). Non-compliance with provisions of the AES can constitute an administrative offence and may lead to the imposition of fines up to 665 000 Euro or more (article 23 AES).
As a Member State of the European Union, Council Directive 2009/119/EC obliges Slovakia to maintain a minimum volume of emergency oil stocks corresponding to 90 days of average daily net imports or 61 days of average daily inland consumption, whichever of the two quantities is greater. The Directive also imposes strict requirements concerning the composition and location of the emergency oil stocks, so as to guarantee their availability and accessibility in case of need, among other provisions.
Slovakia’s compliance with the provisions of the directive is monitored and enforced by the European Commission. If a Member State is deemed not to be compliant with the EU Directive, the Commission might decide to initiate an infringement procedure, which might ultimately lead to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (articles 258-259, Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
As a Member of the IEA, Slovakia is obliged, pursuant to article 2 IEP, to maintain oil reserves equal to 90 days of net imports of the previous year. IEA Members are obliged to submit information concerning their emergency measures to the IEA secretariat (article 32 IEP) on a continuous basis and the IEA monitors Member countries’ compliance with the IEP.