SOCAR close to withdrawing from DESFA deal – Greece, 29 July 2016

Recent developments related to the sale of 49 % stake in Greek natural gas transmission system operator DESFA to State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) are indicating that the probability of this deal happening are very slim.
The possibility of successful completion of DESFA’s purchase has been significantly reduced by the departure of the CEO of SOCAR Energy Greece Anar Mammadov, after the Greek Ministry of Energy submitted an amendment which reduces DESFA’s regulatory asset base by about 200 million euros for the period between 2012 and 2015. Minister Skourletis explained that existing regulations would lead to gas network usage fee hikes of about 68 %, which would negatively impact both households and local industry. SOCAR has warned that it will pull out of the deal if this amendment gets ratified by the Greek Parliament. SOCAR’s withdrawal will automatically cancel the 2013 tender for the sale of 66 % stake in DESFA. In addition, SOCAR’s guarantee expires at the end of August after which the tender will be declared void.

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