Minister: Greece to set qualitative standards for DESFA’s potential buyers (exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.18
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
Greek government will soon set qualitative standards for the prospective buyers of DESFA natural gas grid operator, Εnergy and Environment Minister of Greece, Giorgos Stathakis said in an exclusive interview with Trend.
Recalling about the termination of the talks in 2016 on selling 66-percent stake in DESFA to Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR, the minister said that the project of DESFA privatization proved so far a rather adventurous undertaking with many twists and turns coupled with legal uncertainty.
“Our government opted for a clean start and will launch very soon a new tender process that will abide by the EU requirements and will set qualitative standards, such as investment plans and job creation, for the prospective buyers,” added Stathakis.
SOCAR, Snam [Italian natural gas infrastructure company] and Greek government have been holding intensive talks for the last few months against the background of changes in legislation that affected DESFA’s financial position and market value.
The talks were held in a friendly atmosphere and the Greek government has always favored the agreement.
However, the parties were unable to reach an understanding and consequently, the deal was terminated Nov. 30.
SOCAR won a tender in 2013 on the purchase of a 66-percent stake in DESFA for 400 million euros.
The Azerbaijani company intended to obtain a 31-percent stake from the Greek government and to buy a 35-percent stake in the Hellenic Petroleum.
It was expected that the deal will be closed only after the purchase of at least a 17-percent stake out of SOCAR’s 66-percent by Italy’s Snam.
SOCAR extended the term of a letter of guarantee on the tender to buy DESFA’s stake for another month in September and October. A letter of guarantee expired on November 30.
In late November, Greece’s Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) again requested Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR to extend the term of a letter of guarantee on a tender on SOCAR’s acquiring a 66-percent stake in the Greek national gas transmission system operator DESFA until Dec. 23
The HRADF appealed to SOCAR with the aim of proper execution of the DESFA privatization contract.
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