The Azeris appear opposed to demands made in Baku by Greek Environment and Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis in regards to the collection of transit fees for the Transadriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the reduction to Azeri natural gas rates for Greece. Moreover, the conditions attached to the third demand from Athens for the state to participate in the TAP consortium also amount to a rejection.
The Azeri side’s negative stance comes just a week after meetings held by Lafazanis in Baku in the context of the first Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, and at the time of a fresh intervention by the European Commission over the sale of Greek gas network operator DESFA to Azeri state firm Socar.
“If Greece wants to buy a share, we are ready to sell it. But the main requirement for the Greek side is that it must settle the account on time. Our wishes coincide,” the vice-president of Socar, Elshad Nasirov, told Azeri agency Azernews on Monday.
“Another issue is to find a solvent company that will not lead to a delay in the construction of the pipeline and the implementation of the Southern Gas Corridor project,” he added.
Nasirov made it clear that the TAP consortium, in which his firm owns a 20 percent stake, does not intend to concede a stake to the Greek side without money. The agreement for the construction of TAP allows for the participation of Greece’s Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) in TAP with the acquisition of a stake of up to 5 percent after the operation of the pipeline, without any money paid.
Nasirov further turned down demands for TAP transit fees and lower natural gas rates for Greece, explaining that a rate cut would not coincide with international practices.