Conclusions from the Agency's control activities in 2021
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 relevant storage contracts. The aim of the control is 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 controlled by the Agency's employees periodically every calendar quarter. 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 2021, however, the standard course of planned controls 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, it was not possible to carry out some checks of emergency stocks physically at the storage location, and therefore, instead, the verification of the amount of stored emergency stocks was carried out by electronic means in the form of electronic data transmission from measuring devices of individual storage tanks, the so-called "remote control".
With regard to the control of the quantity of emergency stocks, compared to last year, in 2021 not only the pre-planned physical quarterly checks (sometimes carried out remotely for pandemic reasons) were carried out, but in addition the administrative monthly evidence checks were carried out 'remotely' in accordance with the procedure described above. These monthly checks were put into practice following discussions between the Agency's management and representatives of the Economic Affairs Committee of National Council of the Slovak Republic on the results of an audit by the Supreme Audit Office of the Slovak Republic.
In 2021, the quality of emergency stocks of crude oil and petroleum products was carried out as a standard, reflecting the characteristics of individual emergency stocks and historically established practice. In accordance with the above, the quality of emergency crude oil stocks was checked at monthly intervals (the crude oil stock keeper himself takes the initiative to carry out checks at monthly intervals) and the quality of oil products is checked twice a year. This control of the quality of emergency stocks is carried out 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 and are of the required quality, so that the emergency stocks, in the event of the need to release them, can be directly used to ensure the supply of crude oil and oil products for the economy and population of the Slovak Republic. In the case of petroleum products, in connection with the recommendation of the Supreme Audit Office of the Slovak Republic in 2021, in addition to the analyses carried out in an accredited laboratory selected by a recognized stock keeper, repeated analyses of the quality of the petroleum products in question from 37 tanks were also carried out in another laboratory of the IMU (Institut für Mineralölprodukte und Umweltanalytik ZT - GesmbH). The results of these repeated analyses confirmed the compliance of the qualitative parameters of the oil products in question with the relevant technical standards, as well as the compliance with the results of the analyses performed by an accredited laboratory selected by a recognized stock keeper of emergency stocks of petroleum products.
The control activities carried out by the Agency in the area of maintaining emergency stocks in 2021 demonstrated the following:
1. All emergency stocks owned by the Agency maintained by recognized stock keepers 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.
2. Emergency supplies are continuously available and ready for immediate release.
3. Emergency stocks are maintained in the structure prescribed by legislation and stock keeping contracts. The ratio between reserves of crude oil and petroleum products is within the range allowed by legislation.
4. 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 and the Slovak Republic fulfills its international obligations in the field of oil safety.