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Petroleum market liberalization in Malta

When Malta entered the European Union (EU) the country agreed on the liberalization of the petroleum market. Malta agreed to liberalize importation, stocking and wholesale of petroleum. The Maltese government only began to partially liberalize the Maltese energy market on the 2nd October 2007 with the publication of Legal Notice LN278 / 2007 better known as the “Petroleum for the Inland (Wholesale) Fuel Market Regulations, 2007”, hereafter called the Act. The aim of the liberalization is to provide consumers with higher quality service and better prices. The liberalization of the petroleum market in Malta will also mean more liberties for petrol pump owners who will be able to import their own fuel, thus giving customers greater choice and hopefully more competitive prices.

Regulating Authority

The Malta Resources Authority has been appointed as the regulating body in charge of monitoring and regulating the market. The authority also issues licenses to operators interested in:

1. Carrying out the activity of an importer and or wholesaler of petroleum,
2. To operate a primary storage facility and
3. In bottling of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

In the case of offshore storage facilities the MRA shall act in collaboration with the authority responsible for maritime matters, currently the Malta Maritime Authority.

The Application Process

As from the 2nd October 2007, the Malta Resources Authority has been accepting applications in writing on prescribed application forms from any person who wishes to:

  1. carry out the activity of an importer and or wholesale of petroleum or
  2. operate a primary storage facility or
  3. bottle LPG

Together with the application, a non-refundable application fee of € 232.94 (Lm 100) and an authorisation fee shall be paid to the Authority (see tables 2 & table 3). Furthermore, the Malta Resources Authority requires a number of documents to be submitted together with applications.

Documentation for Importation / Wholesale of petroleum

  1. Certified copies of updated Memorandum and Articles of association of company or deed of partnership or other deed or authenticated agreement establishing the corporate body.
  2. A certified copy of the registration certificate.
  3. Certificate of good standing issued by the Registry of Companies.
  4. Police conduct certificates for directors.
  5. Full particulars in a separate, signed and dated statement of any convictions or enforcement actions undertaken by a regulatory authority in last 5 years or any pending charges, as requested in Section E of this application. NIL certification is also required.
  6. Full particulars in a separate, signed and dated statement of any refusal, suspension, revocation, invalidation or cancellation of any authorisation or permit or other form of registration by any regulatory authority, in any country either to the applicant or any of its shareholders /promoters. NIL certification is also required.
  7. Copies of audited and regulatory accounts for the last three years (if available).
  8. Description of the group of companies, if applicable, of the applicant.
  9. Disclosure on every shareholder of the applicant holding at least 10% of shares in the applicant. (Memo & Articles, certificate of registration, good standing certificate, last audited accounts, banking reference – in case of corporate shareholders; police conduct certificate, copy of passport, banking reference – in case of individual shareholders).
  10. List of countries and territories where, within the last five years, the prospective licensee/parent companies have been operating, copies of authorisations, if available.
  11. Business plan for 3 years with financial projections and sufficient description of the proposed operations.
  12. Nomination of Authorised Local Representative (and disclosure of same as in 9 above).

Documentation for Operation of a Primary Storage Facility

  1. Certified copies of updated Memorandum and Articles of association of company or deed of partnership or other deed or authenticated agreement establishing the corporate body.
  2. A certified copy of the registration certificate.
  3. Certificate of good standing issued by the Registry of Companies.
  4. In the case of a primary storage facility which is within the scope of the Control of Major Accidents Hazard (COMAH) regulations, clearance in writing is required from the COMAH Competent Authority that the applicant has submitted the documentation required by the aforesaid regulations.
  5. The applicant must supply the following technical details:
    (i) Drawings of site plans and the technical details of tanks;
    (ii) Description of the operational features of the proposed storage facility; and
    (iii) Drawings showing all piping layout.
  6. Description of the group of companies, if applicable, of the applicant.
  7. Copies of audited and the regulatory accounts for the last three years (if available).
  8. Police Conduct certificates for directors.
  9. Business plan for 3 years with financial projections and sufficient description of the proposed operations.
  10. Development permit issued by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.
  11. Nomination of Authorised Local Representative.
  12. Copy of insurance policy. The Authority reserves the right to request the applicant to alter the cover in a manner that is acceptable to it.

Acceptance and Authorisation by the Malta Resources Authority

The Malta Resources Authority is bound by the Act to reply to a valid application within a period of 3 months. The conditions adopted by the Authority have to be fair, objective and transparent and include but are not limited to those imposed in Art 13 (2) of the act, namely:

  1. the compliance by the applicant with all other relevant permits and authorisations, issued by any other public authority;
  2. the capability of the applicant to ensure safety conditions, in the context of the authorisation being applied for;
  3. private and professional integrity of the applicant;
  4. protection of the health and safety of employees;
  5. protection of the environment;
  6. record of compliance with these regulations and any other relevant laws by the person with regard to whom the decision shall be made;
  7. suitability of the facility with regard to safety, health, security, hazardous substances, environment, land use and planning requirements;
  8. the need for facilities and services to be provided for consumers at the facility concerned and the extent to which the interests of consumers shall be served;
  9. the possibility of a monopolistic or an oligopolistic condition in the inland wholesale petroleum market, detrimental to the public interest being created or aggravated, and the extent to which fair and reasonable competition in the retail of petroleum could be affected;
  10. any other matter relevant to the orderly provision, of petroleum in Malta;
  11. the public interest in general and
  12. any other condition specified by the Malta Resources Authority (Art 15)

Upon acceptance of the application by MRA, Art 6(1) and 6(2) state that the Authority will issue an Authorisation specifying the terms, conditions and authorization period as indicated in Table 1 below. The provider will have 30 days from the granting of authorization to pay the authorization fees indicated in Table 2 and Table 3 below:

Table 1: Authorization periods

Type

Duration

Importer and / or wholesaler of petroleum

6 years

Operate Primary Storage Facility

30 years

Bottling LPG

30 years

 

Table 2: Authorisation fees - Importation / Wholesale of Petroleum

Annual Fee

€ 2,329.37 (Lm 1000) / annum

Fee / litre of imported Fuel

€ 0.0175 (Lm 0.0075)/ litre of imported Fuel

 

Table 3 - Authorisation fees - Operate Primary Storage Facility

Up to 25,000 tonnes

Lm 2,000 / annum

25,000 – 100,000 tonnes

Lm 4,000 / annum

100,000 tonnes and over

Lm 6,000 / annum

Applications

Operating primary storage facility [PDF, 147kb]
Importation of petroleum [PDF, 149kb]