By Chryssa Liaggou
The Environment and Energy Ministry announced on Tuesday that Greece has secured a 15 percent discount on natural gas from Russian energy giant Gazprom for 10 years, adding that the measure will be retroactively applied from July 2013.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to Russian President Vladimir Putin facilitated the deal through personal interventions, the ministry said.
The statement does not reveal the rate agreed between the Greek and Russian sides – citing a confidentiality agreement – but competent sources say that has been set at $395 per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas, against $460/1,000 c.m. in the last quarter of 2013.
The new rate, according to the ministry, puts Greece close to the average of continental European Union countries and is among the lowest in the region as far as long-term contracts with Gazprom are concerned.
The ministry has already ordered the management of the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) to change the rates it charges customers as of April and to return 15 percent of the price paid since last July, which according to DEPA sources adds up to 70 million euros. Energy-intensive industries and electricity producers will get their discount directly from DEPA, while household consumers and small enterprises will get it from their local gas supply companies in Athens, Thessaloniki and Thessaly.
The agreement is expected to be signed by mid-March, after being approved by the DEPA and Gazprom boards. The DEPA board will convene next week to discuss the deal.
“This is a very good deal for DEPA, its customers and the country. It offers flexibility regarding quantities in a period of uncertainty, and increases security in the country’s supply with Russian gas that has proved to be a reliable source,” the chairman and chief executive officer of DEPA, Haris Sahinis, told Kathimerini.
The 15 percent rate cut, combined with the discount the Greek utility has secured for its Algerian imports and the price it expects from Turkey’s Botas after the conclusion of the arbitration process, form a very competitive portfolio for DEPA. Critics, however, said Greece should have secured a greater discount and a longer period of retroactivity, from January 2013, as other countries had achieved equal or larger discounts two years earlier.