Other legislative developments

Degassing of barges

The Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR) is preparing an amendment of an existing regulation aimed at preventing gaseous residues from being released into the atmosphere. FuelsEurope, along with other industries, has been actively involved in his process, but thinks the current proposal is not sufficiently flexible and needs further work.

The CCNR is focusing on the release of gases during the barge transportation of liquid loads on inland waterways. Its proposal to ban degassing is intended to be introduced progressively. It is based on achievable degassing levels; is intended to minimise the operations needed; and ensures the ability to recover and re-use the degassed materials if needed.

FuelsEurope has been working to make the degassing regulation cost-efficient and progressive, which implies a degree of flexibility achievable through the establishment of logistic agreements. However, the current proposal does not contain adequate flexibility. A modified regulation is expected by end 2016.

 

Electronic Payment

The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which regulates payment services for the consumer market, excludes fuel cards. FuelsEurope welcomes the adoption of this revised directive.

The adoption of PSD2 on 23 December 2015 (as Directive 2015/2366) brought to a successful close the work of the taskforce following the reviews of the Regulation on Multilateral Interchange Fees (MIF) and the Payment Services Directive. The MIF regulation successfully capped and harmonised interchange fees at Union level for debit and credit card payments. It also brought an end to a number of punitive practices that favoured payment card issuers.

As a member of the European Payment Users Alliance, FuelsEurope supports new regulation to make interchange fees transparent and harmonised. The current multilateral interchange fee (MIF) system costs retailers and consumers €9 billion per year, and has been condemned as anti-competitive by the highest European Court.

 

Cyber Security

FuelsEurope welcomes the European Union’s desire to improve cyber security, but we think it would be done best through a voluntary approach.

The European Commission in 2013 proposed for a Network and Information Security Directive (NIS Directive) aimed at improving cyber security – one of the biggest issues currently facing governments and businesses in the EU. The proposal would require Member States to establish a minimum level of national capability to deal with information security. National teams would then exchange information and cooperate to counter NIS threats and incidents.

In addition, operators of critical infrastructure – including the energy industry – would have to assess their risks and take action to ensure network and information security. They would also be required to report significant incidents.

Our sector believes it is already well equipped to assess and manage risks. Voluntary exchange of information with authorities has had a positive impact on market operators, and mandatory notification might not provide additional benefits. It might even be counterproductive, by encouraging unnecessary monitoring and reporting.

FuelsEurope therefore believes that the industry can best deal with cyber security challenges through a voluntary approach. This could be modelled, for example, on the U.S. “Executive Order on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity”, which President Barack Obama issued in 2013 in order to improve resilience to cyber-attacks that might disrupt power, water, communication and other critical systems.

However, should the Directive go ahead establishing mandatory requirements on operators, FuelsEurope recommends that it focus on the following priorities:

  • Taking a harmonised approach to ensure consistency across all Member States, establishing a reasonable scope, so that only truly critical infrastructure is included,
  • Simplifying the regulatory and reporting process, by having a single sectoral regulatory body,
  • Maintaining the limit on incident disclosure requirements to protect commercially or competitively sensitive information,
  • Allowing audits to be conducted internally,
  • Ensuring compliance through incentives rather than penalties.

In March 2014 the European Parliament voted through the amendments of the IMCO Committee, as the file continued to be debated in Council. As of December 2014, the Network and Information Security Directive is in trilogue, as the different institutions try to find agreement on divisive areas, particularly regarding the Directive’s scope.

 

ADN regulation HFO

The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (ADN) entered into force on 29 February 2008. Within this agreement heavy fuel oil (HFO) has been classified as a hazardous substance and thus vapour displaced during operations have to be collected for treatment. This means that vapours generated during loading operations must be returned to shore for proper treatment. From the 1st of January 2017, return lines will be mandatory.

Concawe has conducted a health risk assessment to better understand the potential risks of  airborne emissions during HFO loading operations. The assessment concluded that such emissions do not represent a health concern for workers conducting the operations.

Based on the report of this assessment, FuelsEurope requested an exemption from the mandatory use of return lines at the ADN Safety Committee meeting in January 2015. Additional time was requested to evaluate this request at the August 2015 ADN meeting – but no decision was taken due to additional concerns, which were addressed during the second half of 2015. At the January 2016 ADN meeting, the Dutch authorities did not support the requested exemption. A final decision on the request was scheduled to be taken at the August 2016 ADN meeting.

 

Atmospheric Residue

A change in customs classification will lead to the imposition of import duties on certain crude oil products whose aromatics content exceeds their level of non-aromatics. FuelsEurope is working to obtain equal treatment for the concerned products independently of their aromatics content, as was the case before the change in customs classification.

The customs classification of atmospheric residues and vacuum gasoil was changed in early 2013, imposing an import duty of 1.7% on products whose aromatics content exceeds that of non-aromatics. Previously, the aromatics level had not been considered, and imports of the concerned products were exempted from import duties. After the change in classification, a customs duty suspension was granted up to 31 December 2018.

FuelsEurope is trying to get the concerned products treated equally, independent of their aromatics content. Specifically, it is aiming to transform the customs duty suspension into a duty exemption; obtain an end-use relief; and cover the same products and the range of processes used to make such products.