Sale of natgas grid operator DESFA hangs in the balance

21 September 2016
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The Greek government, via the relevant energy minister, on Tuesday said it wants to continue the privatization for the state-run gas grid operator, DESFA, under the conditions set by the Commission’s directorate-General for Competition (COMP) and without changing the sales price or legal conditions.

The prospect of selling a majority stake of DESFA to Azerbaijan’s Socar is now appearing less likely.
Along those lines, Energy Minister Panos Skourletis and representatives of Italy’s Snam met on Tuesday, with the latter reportedly interested in a minority stake of DESFA, as opposed to the majority stake being negotiated for years with Socar.

On the government side, conditions for the privatization of the utility include meeting the EU Commission’s directives on competition, which in this case means capping the share of DESFA controlled by Socar, for instance, at 49 percent.
Additionally, the leftist government is adamant that it wants 400 million euros for the natgas utility, with lower bids threatening to cancel an international tender.

Other sources close to the government said it is willing to engage in a dialogue with all interested parties, stated after the talks with Snam executives.

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