Creditors, minister to discuss DEPA, NOME auctions today

Greece’s recently appointed energy minister Giorgos Stathakis is scheduled to meet with the creditor representatives this afternoon for talks concerning pending energy-sector prior actions required for the bailout program’s second review.

The creditor representatives are set to depart from Athens tomorrow. Natural gas market reforms and NOME auction revisions for the electricity market are the two key issues that remain unresolved.

The creditors are applying pressure for DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, to fully withdraw from Greece’s retail natural gas market. Creditor representatives believe that such a move could represent the compensation being sought by Shell and Eni for the premature loss of their regional monopolies.

DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, holds majority 51 percent stakes in the country’s three existing EPA gas supply companies. Shell holds a 49% stake in the company serving the wider Athens region, while the Italian multinational Eni holds 49% stakes in the Thessalia and Thessaloniki ventures.

According to certain sources, the creditor representatives will push for a commitment by Greek officials concerning DEPA’s retail gas market withdrawal as a condition for the completion of the bailout’s second review.

As for the electricity market, the creditors want a more effective formula for the NOME auctions, introduced last month with the intention of providing third parties with access to main power utility PPC’s low-cost lignite and hydropower sources as a measure to help break the utility’s market dominance. More specifically, the creditors want the auction starting price to be lowered in December, based on new CO2 emission allowance prices.