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Romanian and Belgian gas grid operators show interest in DESFA


Baku. Aqshin Rafiqoglu - APA-Economics. A few hours after the breakdown in talks between Athens and Azeri state company Socar concerning the acquisition of a 66 percent stake in DESFA by the latter, it became known that Greece’s gas grid operator has attracted the interest of its Romanian peer Transgaz, while the interest of Belgian operator Fluxys remains unchanged. This creates expectations for a successful new tender, according to the newspaper “Ekathimerini”.

 

At the same time Hellenic Petroleum is expected to reconsider its participation in DESFA, assessing the new conditions and growth prospects of the domestic natural gas market, and mainly the role that DESFA’s infrastructure can play combined with the operation of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (currently under construction) in the creation of a gas hub in the broader Southeastern European region.

 

Sources say that last week Transgaz officials visited DESFA’s co-owner Hellenic Petroleum as well as Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis and expressed their interest in a stake in the Greek gas grid operator. The representatives of the Romanian company told the Greek side that they intend to pay a similar amount to what Socar had pledged (400 million euros), dubbing it reasonable and feasible. They added that they are already in talks with European banks which are ready to finance this Romanian investment in Greece.

 

It should be mentioned that SOCAR, HRADF and Hellenic Petroleum SA issued a press release on termination of tender on DESFA privatization.

 

SOCAR told APA-Economics that SOCAR, HRADF and Hellenic Petroleum SA decided not to extend the period for privatization of DESFA’s 66% share: “On June 21, 2013, HRADF declared SOCAR as the winner of tender on DESFA privatization. In the past two years, SOCAR worked to achieve confirmation of privatization by Greece and EU, fulfilment of relevant requirements and invitation of potential buyers to participate in DESFA”.

 

Moreover, SOCAR, SNAM and sellers held intensive talks to find an acceptable solution on the background of recent amendments to the legislation of Greece which affect DESFA’s financial situation and market value: “The negotiations were held friendly. Greek government and sellers always shared supportive and cooperative position regarding the agreement. However, the sides could not reach agreement on mutual acceptable commercial mechanism meeting interests of the investors and sellers. Consequently, on November 30, 2016, the tender was cancelled”.

 

SOCAR said the cancellation will not affect the future investments in the region and Greece.

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