The Central Europe Pipeline Management Organization

  • Last updated: 26 Oct. 2010 18:11

The Central Europe Pipeline Management Organization – or CEPMO - is the organization that manages NATO’s Central Europe Pipeline System (CEPS).

The CEPS is the largest element of the NATO Pipeline System (NPS). Its principal purpose is to meet operational requirements in Central Europe in times of peace, crisis and conflict. This means that CEPMO’s priority is to ensure that, when needed, military missions conducted in Central Europe or using European airbases as an intermediate hub, are guaranteed fuel that meets the required technical specifications at all times.

Once military requirements in peacetime have been satisfied, any remaining capacity may be used for commercial purposes, under strict safeguards, to help reduce costs.

CEPMO is one of the NATO Production, Logistics or Service Organizations (NPLSO). These are subsidiary bodies that are granted organizational, administrative and financial independence by the North Atlantic Council (NAC). CEPMO is composed of the following two elements:

  • the CEPMO Board of Directors (BoD), which is the governing body of CEPMO; and
  • the Central European Pipeline Management Agency (CEPMA), which is the executive arm of CEPMO, responsible for the day-to-day management of the CEPS.

In sum, CEPMO consists of the CEPMO BoD and CEPMA, and is not an entity as such with a postal address and permanent staff. Participating countries are: Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United States.

Tasks and responsibilities of CEPMO

CEPMO’s prime responsibility is to satisfy operational requirements during peace, crisis and war by the movement, storage and delivery of on-specification fuel in Central Europe. After military requirements have been satisfied, any remaining capacity may be used for commercial purposes.

Its main responsibilities are therefore to:

  • plan, co-ordinate and execute the delivery of its services to its clients;
  • ensure the integrity of the pipeline system;
  • ensure that on-specification fuel is delivered to its customers (quality control);
  • develop and implement appropriate policies to ensure the safe, efficient and legally compliant operations of the pipeline; and
  • co-ordinate marketing activities, including the negotiation of appropriate tariff rates with non-military clients.

CEPMO takes into account the political, economic, financial, legal, technological, and environmental factors to perform its various activities.

The structure and responsibilities of CEPMO are defined in the CEPMO Charter endorsed by the NAC. Its responsibilities are assessed in line with these NAC-endorsed directives and in collaboration with the other NATO bodies involved.

CEPMO working mechanisms

CEPMO composition

CEPMO is composed of the two following entities:

A Board of Directors known as the NATO CEPMO BoD

It acts as the governing body of CEPMO and is composed of delegates from all participating countries. These national representatives represent their country’s political, military, economic, financial and technical interests. They are the only voting members of the Board and each country has one vote. To assist in the execution of its work, the Board has the authority to establish other subordinate bodies.

The Board of Directors meets three times a year in accordance with the CEPMO Charter. It establishes general policy, objectives, missions, and approves financial resources for the CEPS.

The Central Europe Management Agency (CEPMA)

CEPMA is the executive managing agency responsible for the daily operation of the CEPS. It is located in Versailles, France.

Creation and evolution of CEPMO

When the CEPS was created more than fifty years ago, there were two governing bodies: the Central Europe Pipeline Office (CEPO), and the Central Europe Pipeline Policy Committee (CEPPC). The former was responsible for all decisions related to the operation of the network and the latter for the general policy and finances. The first meeting of the CEPPC took place on 15 December 1956.

Several decades later, in 1997, the North Atlantic Council endorsed the new CEPMO Charter, which defines the current structure and responsibilities of the CEPS.