DEPA-Shell agreement undergoing full investigation

The local Competition Committee has decided to conduct a full investigation of the DEPA gas utility’s local takeover agreement with Shell, crucial for the outcome of the utility’s planned privatization.

The investigation is expected to make fast progress and should not exceed a 45-day limit set by law, sources noted. Prior to this latest development, it was believed the committee could deliver a decision by this week.

The DEPA privatization plan could he headed for trouble if the 45-day limit is exceeded, officials have warned.

The sale plan entails splitting DEPA into two corporations, DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure, and then launching the privatization procedure in October or November.

The investigation of the DEPA-Shell agreement was deemed necessary because the deal could constitute an over-accumulation of power for DEPA, given the utility’s dominance as a gas supplier in the wider Athens market combined with its key role in the country’s wholesale gas market.

DEPA has agreed to acquire Shell’s 49 percent share of the EPA Attiki gas supply and EDA Attiki gas distribution ventures covering the wider Athens area. DEPA already holds the majority 51 percent in these ventures.

It remains unclear if DEPA and Shell could be asked to revise the terms of their agreement.