BUSINESS

DESFA deal will not be completed before August

By Chryssa Liaggou

The completion of the agreement to transfer the majority stake (66 percent) in Greece’s natural gas transmission network operator DESFA to Azeri state company Socar has been put off until at least August 2014 due to the close inspections being performed by the European Commission, with some estimates saying that if Brussels decides to use the whole of the period provided by the regulations, Socar will need to wait until October.

The period for the sale’s monitoring will officially begin when Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) forwards to the Commission’s Directorate General for Energy the certification details regarding DESFA’s adherence to the ITO unbundling model (providing for the government to appoint the company’s heads). According to European Union regulations, this must happen by April 10.

Nevertheless, contacts between the Azeris, state sell-off fund TAIPED, RAE, DESFA stakeholder Hellenic Petroleum and the Commission are ongoing, while the draft interstate agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan is being prepared. This is necessary for the completion of DESFA’s transfer to Socar.

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