With the amendments in the Energy Act as of 01.10.2021, trading with natural gas shall be carried out only on the basis of an issued license.
What is the procedure for issuing a license?
The Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) shall issue licenses for the activities under Article 9, para. 1 of Ordinance № 3 of 21.03.2013 on licensing of activities in the energy sector (OLAES), one of which is trading in natural gas. For the issuance of such a license, it is necessary that the entity is registered under the Commercial Act or has a registration equivalent to that under the legislation of another Member State of the European Union, which has submitted an application and has the technical and financial capabilities, material and human resources and organizational structure to fulfil the regulatory requirements for carrying out the activities under the license.
Stages of the licensing procedure
Stage I: Application
The application must contain the provisions laid down in Article 1 of Ordinance No. 3 of 21.03.2013. The application must be accompanied by documents and information relating to the submission of evidence of compliance with the legal, technical and economic criteria for obtaining a license laid down in Article 11, para. 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Ordinance.
Additional information shall be submitted by the applicant at his/her discretion in case additional data, not covered by the listed minimum requirements, needs to be submitted.
Additionally, in the course of viewing the file, on the basis of Article 7, para. 1 of the OLAES, the Commission shall have the right to request any additional information in order to clarify all the facts and circumstances related to the granting of the specific license.
There are several ways to request the service:
- Through the Unified Portal for Information and Administrative Services of the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission.
- Through the Secure Electronic Delivery System of the State Agency for Electronic Government
- At the administrative service center of the EWRC.
- By post or through a licensed postal operator
- To the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission at. Sofia 1000, № 8-10 “Knyaz Al. Dondukov” Boulevard.
The individual administrative act is received as according to the stated by the service user.
- Through the CEWR’s Single Portal for Information and Administrative Services;.
- To the e-mail address indicated by the applicant, which allows receiving a message containing information on downloading the document from the information system for service.
- On paper, at a counter in the administrative service center
- By post or by a licensed postal operator
How long is the license issued for?
The EWRC decisions state that the requested licenses should be issued for a period of 10 years. The reasoning for this period is in view of the development of the natural gas market in Bulgaria and in the region, which is extremely dynamic and this does not allow for a realistic forecast of the market adequacy of a company operating on this market for a period longer than ten years. The licensee may request an extension of the license at least one year before the license expires. The maximum duration of the document is 35 years.
Stage II: Inspection of the application file
The inspection is carried out to establish whether the statutory requirements for the issue of the license are met.
The submitted applications and their annexes shall be checked for compliance with the requirements of the Ordinance (OLAES) within а 7-day period of their receipt. In cases where the documents submitted do not comply with the criteria set out therein, a written notice shall be sent to the applicant to remedy the irregularities within 7 days.
If the defects are not remedied within the time limit, the file shall be closed by resolution of the Commission.
Stage III: Decision for license issuance
The Commission issues either a license, or a reasoned refusal for it.
In cases of refusal, the applicant can make a new application for a license not earlier than three months from the date of the resolution of refusal, respectively, of the entry into force of the court resolution, rejecting the appeal as unfounded.
The decisions, including the tacit refusal of the Commission, can be appealed before the Administrative Court – Sofia under the Administrative Procedure Code (APC).
What is the time period and how much does the licensing procedure cost?
The deadline for execution of the procedure is 45 days. A fixed fee of BGN 1000 has to be paid for the service itself, before the application is processed.