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 executive agency, named the Central Europe Operating Agency (CEOA), was created on 1 January 1958.
In 1997, the North Atlantic Council endorsed the new Central Europe Pipeline Management Organisation (CEPMO) Charter approved by the two directing bodies. The Charter defined the structure and responsibilities of the new management organization of the CEPS: CEPMO, which comprised one single CEPMO Board of Directors (BoD) and the Agency (CEPMA).
On 1 July 2012, the new NATO Support Organisation (NSPO) was created by merging the former NATO Maintenance and Supply Organisation (NAMSO), the former NATO Airlift Management Organisation (NAMO) and the former Central Europe Pipeline Management Organisation (CEPMO). The former CEPMO became the CEPS Programme within the NSPO. The former CEPMA became the CEPS Programme Office (CEPS PO) within the NATO Support Agency (NSPA).
In the post-Cold War period, the Board and the Agency were faced with the challenge of maintaining the necessary CEPS capability with reduced national defence budgets.
The Board decided to help reduce costs by closing down storage and pipeline systems that were no longer needed and to augment revenues by increasing non-military activities. As a consequence, once military needs are satisfied, the CEPS provides fuel transport for civilian requirements in Central Europe. The military priority clause in all transport and storage contracts ensures that CEPS fulfills its primary role – responding to military needs - however, it has also become an important fuel transporter for civilian use.
The possibility of commercialization was first authorized by the North Atlantic Council in 1959 but it only became a significant part of daily activities from 1994.
In 2011, a review of the current Business Model was initiated by the former CEPMO Board of Directors. Optimization of the current Business Model and rationalization of the layout of the system were important topics of this review. A new system layout was approved in 2012 with the aim of generating significant cost reductions over the next five years starting in 2013.