DESFA 10-year plan delayed by Fyrom pipeline decision

A ten-year development plan submitted by DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for approval last autumn remains pending as a result of a number of issues, the main reason being the authority’s indecision on a gas pipeline plan to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom).

RAE has yet to decide on the firm to be commissioned to develop the natural gas pipeline, to run from outer Thessaloniki to the country’s northern border shared with Fyrom (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) as the authority is also considering a rival offer for the project’s development by Windows International, a company controlled by Russian entrepreneur Leonid Lebedev.

The Russian firm has forwarded a letter to RAE highlighting that its offer was the first to be made, in March 2017, and meets all legal prerequisites. It also reminded that an MoU has been signed by the Greek and Fyrom governments for the gas pipeline’s development.

Windows International has provided additional details requested by the Greek authority and also made shareholder line-up revisions to meet an EU requirement forbidding the firm from having interests in any other natural gas producers and suppliers.

A second issue delaying RAE’s approval of DESFA’s ten-year plan has to do with a request by the authority for a binding schedule from the operator for all its projects, the intention being to ensure their timely completion.

A third factor concerns questions raised by the authority in an effort to clarify various issues and forecasts included in the operator’s proposals.

Despite the issues, RAE will need to endorse DESFA’s ten-year plan within the next three to four weeks, meaning some of the aforementioned issues may temporarily remain unresolved.

In this case, projects included in a preceding ten-year plan will be endorsed while new additions, such as the pipeline to Fyrom, will be included in an ensuing next ten-year plan which DESFA’s new ownership will need to submit by this summer, energypress sources informed.

A consortium led by Italy’s Snam and including Spain’s Enagás Internacional and Belgium’s Fluxys was yesterday nominated as the preferred investor for the acquisition of a 66 percent stake of DESFA, TAIPED, the state privatization fund announced.

Authorities are examining the prospect of introducing a national ten-year development plan for the gas sector. If such an approach had already been adopted, the DESFA and Windows International issue over the Thessaloniki-Fyrom pipeline would have been avoided.