Legal and regulatory framework

Europe

Since 3 March 2011, the European natural gas market is regulated by the Third Energy Package:

  • Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning the common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC (the Third gas Directive);
  • Regulation (EC) No. 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks and repealing Regulation (EC) No. 1775/2005 (the Second Gas Regulation);
  • Regulation (EC) No. 713/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing and Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (the ACER Regulation).


Belgium

The federal government is responsible for large-scale energy storage, transmission and generation infrastructure, in our case the Fluxys Belgium natural gas transmission system, the company’s natural gas storage facilities and Fluxys LNG's liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal.

The Regions are responsible for public gas distribution, and specifically for the gas distribution systems managed by the intermunicipal companies and for the rational use of energy.

The federal energy regulator CREG determines tariff methodology not only for the natural gas transmission system, natural gas storage facilities and LNG terminal operators, but also for the natural gas distribution system operators.

The activities of Fluxys Belgium and Fluxys LNG, including tariff aspects, are regulated by the Federal Act of 12 April 1965 concerning the transmission of gaseous and other products by pipelines (the Gas Act), supplemented with royal decrees concerning both tariffs (two Royal Decrees on Tariffs) and the more technical aspects of grid access (Code of Conduct).

 

Regulated activities

In the current legal and regulatory framework, a regulated system applies to the transmission (border-to-border and domestic) and storage of natural gas and to the LNG terminal’s activities. The regulated activities are supervised by the federal regulator, the Commission for Electricity and Gas Regulation (CREG).

> Visit the CREG website

Transposition of the Third Gas Directive

The Third Energy Package of legislative measures, in particular the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas, has been transposed into Belgian law (Act of 8 January 2012 amending the Gas Act, which entered into force on 21 January 2012). This new legislation entails some major changes for Fluxys Belgium:

  • The legislation provides for a certification procedure for operators of the transmission system, natural gas storage facilities and LNG terminalling facilities. The aim of this certification is to verify compliance with ownership unbundling requirements, i.e. the separation of operators from energy suppliers and producers. CREG has certified Fluxys Belgium as a transmission system operator (TSO) operating completely separately from natural gas suppliers and producers.
  • Alongside the certification procedure mentioned above, the Belgian procedure whereby operators of the transmission system, natural gas storage facilities and LNG terminalling facilities are appointed by ministerial decree remains in force. According to this procedure, on 23 February 2010 Fluxys Belgium was appointed as operator of the natural gas transmission system and of the natural gas storage facility, and Fluxys LNG as operator of the LNG facility.
  • Another novelty is that CREG is responsible for developing the methodology used to determine the tariffs for natural gas transmission and storage and LNG terminalling, following consultation with the system operators. As before, CREG will remain the body that approves the tariff proposals put forward by operators.

Read more about the Third Energy Package


Code of Conduct

 

The Code of Conduct sets out the conditions for access to the natural gas infrastructure. These conditions are a set of operational and commercial rules that lay down the framework within which Fluxys Belgium and Fluxys LNG sign contracts with users of the transmission, storage and LNG infrastructure.

The first Code of Conduct was established by the Royal Decree of 4 April 2003. Since 2006, CREG has organised a range of market consultations concerning changes to this existing code. On 15 January 2011, the Royal Decree of 23 December 2010 concerning a new Code of Conduct entered into force.

The new Code of Conduct stipulates that all operators (transmission, storage and LNG terminalling) must compile several documents all of which must be submitted to CREG for approval: access rules, service programmes and service agreements and connection agreements. System users are consulted while the documents are being drafted to ensure that the services offered are tailored as closely as possible to market requirements. Only after that consultation can the documents be submitted to CREG for approval.

Compliance officer

Under the new Code of Conduct, system operators must also appoint a compliance officer to ensure that they fulfil the requirements regarding non-discrimination in terms of grid access. Fluxys Belgium has appointed such a compliance officer. In 2011, the compliance officer drew up a compliance programme setting out the practical rules to be observed by staff in relation to non-discrimination, transparency and the handling of confidential information. Fluxys Belgium’s Board of Directors and Executive Board approved the compliance programme. A compliance report is established annually and the results are published on this website.

> More on the compliance programme

 
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