Central European Pipeline Management Agency (CEPMA)

  • Last updated: 26 Oct. 2010 16:32

The Central Europe Pipeline Management Agency, also referred to as CEPMA, manages the day-to-day operations of NATO’s Central Europe Pipeline System (CEPS).

It is responsible for the overall direction of operations, marketing and technical developments, as well as financial and administrative support for the entire System.

Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and the United States are the NATO member countries that work at the Agency since they are the countries involved in the Central Europe Pipeline System (CEPS).

CEPMA also implements the decisions of the Central Europe Pipeline Management Organization Board of Directors (CEPMA BOD) and as such, is the executive arm of the Central Europe Pipeline Management Organization (CEPMO).

CEPMA is based in Versailles, France.

Main tasks and responsibilities

CEPMA is responsible for the 24-hour operation of the CEPS, its storage and distribution facilities.

It is in charge of coordinating the pumping and storage activities of the pipeline, as well as ensuring the technical integrity of the system and quality control.

The day-to-day pipeline operations and maintenance is not centralized. It is executed by four national organizations and their dispatching centres. There are two dispatching centres in Germany; Belgium, France and The Netherlands each have one dispatching centre.

Additionally, the national organizations coordinate the operations with their national authorities. The national organizations are funded from a centralized budget coordinated and managed by CEPMA and authorized by the Board of Directors.

CEPMA helps to consolidate the CEPMA budget and those of the national organizations. Since the CEPS is a major network, the budget CEPMA manages is large.

The agency’s structure

CEPMA is structured in three different departments:

  • The Business Department: it interacts daily with fuel suppliers, plans international pipeline movements and storage, and is responsible for the quality control of the product in the CEPS;
  • The Technical Department: it manages the restoration and modernization of the System, and coordinates all technical issues with participating countries and NATO’s International Staff;
  • The Department of Finance and Personnel: it manages the financial requirements of the CEPS and the personnel policy requirements.

There is also a General Services section that is responsible for providing the overall logistics support for the Agency and an independent Internal Controller who oversees the financial situation and reports his findings directly to the General Manager.

In addition to its normal CEPS activities, Agency staff fulfill a number of tasks in relation to the Host Nation for the benefit of all NATO Agencies based in France.

The decision-making bodies

CEPMA operates under the overall authority of the North Atlantic Council. Its governing body is the Central Europe Pipelines Management (CEPMO) Board of Directors (BOD).

The creation and evolution of CEPMA

When the CEPS was created in 1958, there were two governing bodies: the Central Europe Pipeline Office (CEPO), and the Central Europe Pipeline Policy Committee (CEPPC).

The executive agency, named Central Europe Operating Agency (CEOA), was created on 1 January 1958. It was initially located in the Palais de Chaillot, Paris, (which had been NATO’s political headquarters from 1952), before moving to new headquarters in Versailles. These new premises were officially inaugurated on 16 June 1959 by the then NATO Secretary General, Mr Paul-Henri Spaak.

Several decades later, in 1997, the North Atlantic Council endorsed the new CEPMO Charter approved by the two directing bodies. The Charter defines the structure and responsibilities of the new management organization of the CEPS: CEPMO, which comprises one single CEPMO Board of Directors (BOD) and the Agency (CEPMA).