Socar wants lower price for Greek gas grid deal

TAGS: Energy, Privatizations

Azerbaijan’s state energy company Socar plans to go ahead with a deal to buy Greek natural gas pipelines operator DESFA but says that its price should be reduced, Socar’s president said on Monday.

In 2013 Socar agreed to buy a 66 percent stake in the crisis-hit gas supply grid operator for 400 million euros. But the acquisition stalled after Socar was ordered to sell 17 percent of DESFA to a third party to satisfy EU competition authorities.

Complicating the sale further, Greece passed a law in July which raised DESFA’s gas tariffs from next year by a much lower amount than expected.

“The Greek side has taken some steps which violate the tender process ... That’s why DESFA’s price should be now half its initial value,” Rovnag Abdullayev told reporters.

“Socar does not intend to pull out of the deal,” he said and added that Socar was expecting explanations from Athens.

Abdullayev said Italian gas grid operator Snam was still interested in buying a 17 percent stake in DESFA from Socar.