Consideration of SOCAR’s DESFA stake purchase deal extended (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on 14:30)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 28

By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

The European Commission's Competition Directorate-General extended the consideration of the deal on acquisition of 66 percent stake in Greece's gas operator DESFA by Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR until late 2015, Rovnag Abdullayev, the SOCAR head, told reporters April 28.

"The European Commission's directorate-general continues to consider this issue," he said. "Our working group is responding to the requested questions."

"The main issue with the deal, which can allegedly hinder the development of competition in Greece's gas market, is its conformity with the third energy package of the EU," he said. "Now we aren't selling gas to Europe, so we have to make concessions on this issue. But the work continues."

Originally it was envisaged to consider this matter by March 23, later the deadline for the procedure was extended to April 22, 2015.

The European media outlets reported on November 6, 2014, that EU's antimonopoly authority started a check-up of the impending deal on SOCAR's purchase of DESFA.

The European officials became concerned that the level of competition in the gas market of Greece will drop.

It should be noted that in January 2015, a new government came to power in Greece.

Greece's minister of productive reconstruction, environment and energy, Panagiotis Lafazanis said the Greek side would define the next steps regarding this deal after a decision from the European Commission.

SOCAR intends to acquire two-thirds of DESFA for 400 million euros.

SOCAR includes production associations Azneft (the enterprises producing oil and gas onshore and offshore), Azerkimya (the chemical industry enterprises) and Azerigaz.

The company also has a number of processing enterprises, service enterprises, institutions involved in geophysical and drilling operations.

SOCAR is the sole producer of oil products in Azerbaijan. It has two oil refineries on its balance sheet, and also owns filling stations in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Romania and Switzerland.

SOCAR is also the co-owner of Turkey's largest petrochemical complex Petkim and other assets in Turkey.

The company is currently carrying out work as part of ensuring the Azerbaijani gas supplies to Europe.

The work is underway, in this regard, as part of the Stage 2 of development of the Shah Deniz offshore gas and condensate field, and for expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline.

Aside from that projects are being developed for construction of the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

Edited by CN

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Follow the author on Twitter: @MaksimTsurkov

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