DEPA planning action against rivals for Gazprom take-or-pay costs

DEPA, Greece’s Public Gas Corporation, intends to take action, including legal, to avoid shouldering the entire resulting cost of a take-or-pay clause in its supply agreement signed with Gazprom. Besides the Greek state-controlled corporation, the Russian gas giant has now also begun supplying other customers in the local market.

Subdued gas demand in Greece amid the long recession has activated the Gazprom supply agreement’s take-or-pay clause, requiring payments for unconsumed amounts.

“We’re not saying ‘no’ to the natural gas market’s liberalization, but DEPA can’t be left alone to cover this expense,” a corporation official contended, adding that the take-or-pay clause was included in DEPA’s agreements with Gazprom to ensure gas supply security for the entire Greek market and that its cost should be shared by all local traders.

Gazprom, operating through Prometheus Gas, its joint venture established with the Copelouzos corporate group, began direct gas supply to local firms  a couple of months ago. Recipients include Heron, a member of the GEK Terna group, Engie, QPI and Elpedison (ELPE, Edison, Eltex), while other industrial enterprises are also involved in negotiations with Prometheus Gas.

The natural gas is being supplied at a price level equal to that of the starting price offered at DEPA gas auctions.

Gazprom’s decision to break a long-running unofficial agreement for exclusive gas supply to DEPA comes at a time when the Russian side is heavily promoting its Southern Corridor pipeline plan to cover southeast Europe, either as an extension of Turkish Stream or as the South Stream project.

Another gas supplier, M&M Gas, a venture involving the Mytilineos Group and Motor Oil Hellas, has also begun supplying modest natural gas amounts to local customers, primarily industrial enterprises, who have stopped ordering from DEPA and its regional EPA supply subsidiaries.