Conclusions from the Agency's control activities in 2020
The control activity of the Agency is primarily aimed at verifying the amount of emergency stocks of crude oil and petroleum products (hereinafter referred to as "emergency stocks"), which are stored for the Agency by recognized stock keepers in their storage facilities based on the storage contracts. The aim of the control is mainly to verify that recognized stock keepers maintain emergency stocks in sufficient quantity and satisfactory quality. Controls are carried out in accordance with Act No. 218/2013 Coll. on Emergency stocks of oil and petroleum products and on dealing with state of oil emergency and on the amendments and supplements of certain acts as amended, the Statutes of the Agency, concluded contractual relations and internal regulations of the Agency with the aim of ensuring that emergency stocks are continuously available and ready to be used in state of oil emergency.
In accordance with the Agency's internal regulations, the amount of emergency stocks is checked by the Agency's employees on a quarterly basis. Controls of the amount of emergency stocks by the Agency's employees are carried out by physical checks at the storage location, in the case of crude oil stocks by checking the data through the central dispatching of the terminal, and in the case of petroleum products by a separate check of each storage tank through a measuring device. During 2020, however, the standard course of checks on the amount of emergency stocks was disrupted by the measures taken by the government and relevant authorities aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As a result of the mentioned measures, Agency employees could carry out physical checks of emergency stocks at the storage location only in the 2nd and 4th quarters of 2020, while in the 1st and 3rd quarters of 2020 the verification of the amount of stored emergency stocks was carried out only by electronic means in the form of electronic data transmission from measuring devices from individual storage tanks.
The quality of emergency stocks was checked twice a year by taking samples from each storage tank and carrying out qualitative analyses in an accredited laboratory. The purpose of the qualitative analyses was to verify that the individual qualitative parameters of the stored stocks meet the requirements of the relevant technical standards, so that the emergency stocks, in the event of their release, could be directly used to ensure the supply of crude oil and oil products to the economy and population of the Slovak Republic.
The control activities carried out by the Agency in the area of maintaining emergency stocks in 2020 demonstrated the following:
1. Recognized stock keepers maintain emergency stocks in the prescribed quantity on the basis of storage contracts concluded between the Agency and recognized stock keepers. The Agency thus fulfills its legal obligations to maintain emergency stocks in the level of 90 days of average daily net imports (at the end of 2020 year at level of 96 days) and Slovak Republic fulfills its international obligations in the field of oil safety.
2. Emergency stocks are of satisfactory quality in accordance with the requirements of the relevant technical standards. Emergency stocks are thus constantly ready to be used in the need to solve the state of oil emergency.
3. Emergency supplies are continuously available and ready for immediate release.
4. Emergency stocks are maintained in the structure prescribed by legislation and stock keeping contracts. The ratio between reserves of crude oil (64 %) and petroleum products (36 %) is within the range allowed by legislation.
The aforementioned conclusions of the control activity were confirmed in practice, for example, during an extremely serious situation in 2019, when crude oil supplies to the Slovak Republic via the Druzhba pipeline were completely stopped for several weeks. The Agency, in cooperation with the private sector, secured replacement supplies of crude oil so that refinery production and the supply of petroleum products could continue undisturbed in the Slovak Republic. Thanks to this prompt reaction, it was not necessary for the government to take any restrictive measures, and the economy and the population of the Slovak Republic did not feel any negative consequences of the interruptions in the supply of petroleum products.