ECONOMY

Gov’t wants Shell out of Attica Gas

Athens is seeking an exit formula for oil giant Shell from the Attica Gas Corporation due to the multinational company’s intransigent attitude in negotiations for the liberalization of the natural gas retail market.

Shell is the strategic investor in the Attica Gas Corporation, controlling 49 percent of the country’s biggest regional gas supplier. The Anglo-Dutch multinational reportedly started asking the Greek state for compensation from the very moment that the country’s creditors raised the issue of abolishing the exclusive right to gas supply that the three respective gas corporations have in Attica, Thessaly and Thessaloniki – an exception to European Union rules.

Greece made it clear the state was in no position to pay compensation and launched negotiations with the foreign investors in all three regional gas corporations (Shell in Attica and ENI in Thessaly and Thessaloniki) about a year ago so that the necessary changes could be made.

In contrast to Shell, Italy’s ENI has been more inclined to enter discussions, making it clear that its strategic decision is to remain active in the Greek market. As a result the government is contemplating the acquisition of the stake that Shell holds by the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) and ENI.