Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov.21
By Emil Ismayilov - Trend:
The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) will continue constructive cooperation with European Commission to speed up the finalization of Phase II of reviewing its acquisition of 66 percent share in Greek DESFA natural gas transmission system operator, SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev said.
He made the remarks in his interview with Greek Imerisia newspaper on Nov.19. The interview was posted on SOCAR's website.
"The fact that the European Commission decided to take the merger review of SOCAR's acquisition of DESFA into Phase II is not at all exceptional and such developments are often seen in EU merger control procedures," Abdullayev said.
He added that SOCAR appreciates the time, effort and resources that the Commission Services have dedicated and will continue to dedicate in this process.
"SOCAR has always made its best efforts for the transaction's approval, and these efforts have been welcomed by both the Greek government and the European Commission," Abdullayev said.
"So we are confident that the Phase II investigation will satisfy the requests of Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission."
He also commented on the possible influence of this procedure to the level of Azerbaijani-Greek relations and the implementation of the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP) project designed to ensure the supply of Azerbaijani gas to Europe.
He said there are no reasons to presume that the current positive development in Azerbaijani-Greek relations may change in a foreseeable future.
SOCAR president expressed hope that the acquisition of DESFA will be completed in due course and all parties will be able to benefit from successful partnership opportunities in the future.
"TAP, being a consortium of major international companies, has independently signed a cooperation agreement with DESFA and the project is progressing very well in Greece."
European media outlets reported Nov. 6 that EU's anti-monopoly authority started to review the impending deal on SOCAR's acquisition of DESFA. The European officials fear that the competition level in Greece's gas market will decrease.
SOCAR earlier said that the final approval of the deal worth of $400 million on acquisition of 66 percent share by the company in DESFA is expected to fall on early 2015.
Edited by SI