Hydrocarbons Law 34/1998 (last amended in 2015)

Last updated: 5 July 2021

This law regulates activities involving liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons. The following activities are included within the its scope: exploration, research, and mining of deposits and underground reserves of hydrocarbons; international trade, refining, transportation, storage, and distribution of crude oil and petroleum products, including liquefied petroleum gases; and the acquisition, production, liquefaction, regasification, transportation, storage, distribution, and trading of gas fuels through pipelines.


This law considers oil and gas fields as public assets, so any exploration, investigation, and development of onshore or offshore oil and gas fields are regulated activities that require an authorisation, licence, or permit. The potential concessionaire must submit a formal request to the Ministry of Industry or Energy along with the following mandatory documents:


    • A technical report with technical data to justify the project;
    • A development plan, investment programme, environmental impact study and, if applicable, an estimate of recoverable reserves and a production profile;
    • A decommissioning plan along with an environment recovery plan;
    • Supporting documentation with proof of the financial deposit o  guarantee executed by the applicant.


Once the formal request is submitted and the government considers that all requirements are met, it will authorise the extraction concession by Royal Decree. The Royal Decree will include the basis of the development plan, the liability insurance needed by the concessionaire and the economic provision required to cover the decommissioning activities (Article 25).


According to Article 60, regasification, primary storage, transportation and distribution of natural gas are regulated activities. Operators of transmission networks must receive authorisation from the competent authority to construct, operate, and maintain pipelines. Likewise, the construction, modification, exploitation, and closure of natural gas distribution facilities are subject to administrative authorisation (Article 73).

Want to know more about this policy ? Learn more (Spanish)