ECONOMY

Miller gets DEPA term change

Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller’s visit to Greece on Wednesday appears to have resulted in Athens promising to amend a term in the tender for the country’s Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) that provides for the submission of a letter of guarantee by the winner amounting to 20 percent of the price.

The chief executive officer of the Russian energy giant, who was visiting Athens for the second time in eight days, met with Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and the chief of the state privatization fund, Yiannis Emiris, although no official announcements were made.

Government sources say that the meeting had been arranged since Miller’s previous visit to Athens, during which he had secured Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s pledge for that specific term in the tender to be changed.

Miller is also said to have discussed the progress of the amendment process in his talks with Emiris, so that his company can form its final position ahead of the April 28 deadline for binding offers, which was extended by two weeks.

However Gazprom – like the other suitors – is worried about the issue of independent electricity producers’ unpaid debts to DEPA, which amount to 425 million euros. How those debts are handled will affect the level of the offers.

Development Ministry sources said on Wednesday that the meeting between Miller and Hatzidakis also focused on energy investments, as the Russian company is said to be interested in the construction and operation of power production units with the aim of exporting electricity.

It is further reported to have returned to the table the possibility of the South Stream natural gas pipeline passing through Greece if it acquires DEPA.

Privatization issues were not discussed with Hatzidakis as they are not among the minister’s responsibilities, said a ministry source, who did however add that “for Miller to come to Athens twice in less than 10 days means Gazprom believes there are investment prospects in our country and therefore margin for growth.”