ECONOMY

Gazprom is likely to land DEPA

Russian energy giant Gazprom will effectively run unopposed for the acquisition of Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), though the question remains over who will land gas transmission network operator DESFA as the landscape about its sale remains unclear.

Russia’s Sintez, which entered the tender with a bid for acquiring both companies and later demanded to be allowed to bid separately for each, announced on Monday that it will not submit a proposal for DEPA after all, leaving open the possibility that it may still make a binding offer for DESFA.

“A final decision over whether we shall submit a binding offer will be made in the near future after the examination of the final version of agreements by its shareholders and the sale contract,” Sintez said in its statement.

Sintez has therefore cleared the way for Gazprom to secure the country’s main gas company, putting it ahead in the race for the tender proclaimed by state privatization fund TAIPED. The certainty that Gazprom appears to have about winning the tender is evident from observers saying that Sintez would have been used by Russia as an alternative plan to penetrate the Greek market through DEPA should Gazprom be denied access to the Greek market by Brussels or Washington. It already appears likely that Gazprom has secured the green light from Berlin, according to energy market professionals who attempted to explain the withdrawal of the Sintez bid for DEPA.

Gazprom will only have the Greek consortium M+M (of the Vardinoyiannis and Mytilineos groups) to compete against, but the Greek firm is not really eyeing success in this tender.

In contrast, the tender for DESFA will continue to be more difficult to read until it becomes clear whether Sintez will file a binding offer or not.

The deadline is June 7, and Azeri company Socar is very likely to make a bid, combining its interest in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) for the transmission of gas to the Western European market via the Balkans.