Russian energy giant Gazprom did not submitt a binding offer for Greek natural gas firm DEPA before Monday’s deadline, reports said.
Gazprom was expected to be the only major bidder for DEPA but both capital.gr and Reuters reported that the Russian firm did not declare its interest.
Capital.gr reported that a disagreement over the price at which Gazprom would supply gas to Greek households led to the firm withdrawing its interest. Greece currently pays about 30 percent more than the European Union average for the natural gas it imports from Russia.
The government had been hoping to secure a commitment from Gazprom to lower prices.
Gazprom’s only rival for DEPA is M&M Gas, a joint venture by Greek energy firms Motor Oil and Mytilineos. But reports suggested that M&M had also failed to submit a binding bid by Monday’s deadline.
The Russian firm has made a preliminary bid of 900 million euros, whereas M&M offered 550 million.
The failure to secure an offer for DEPA would be embarrassing for the government, which had extended the deadline as it sought to accommodate Gazprom.
The sale of DEPA, along with that of state gambling firm OPAP, were the flagship privatizations of this year. Even with those sales, it appeared that the government would not meet its reduced target of 2.6 billion euros in revenues for this year.
Reuters also reported that another Russian firm, Sintez, withdrew its interest for the purchase of gas network operator DESFA on Monday.
If this is the case, AzerbaijanÎ„s state company SOCAR is likely to be the only firm to place a binding offer for DESFA.