DESFA tender bidders to be shortlisted next week

First-round bidders taking part in a renewed international tender offering 66 percent of DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator, are expected to be shortlisted next week, once TAIPED, the state privatization fund, has received specialized advice from the procedure’s consultants.

Qualifiers will advance to the competition’s next round. A total of six teams submitted first-round bids early this month, including one comprised of Italy’s Snam, Spain’s Enagas, Belgium’s Fluxys and Dutch operator Gasunie, regarded as the favorite.

Snam, Enagas and Fluxys all hold stakes in the TAP consortium developing the TAP gas pipeline, to run across northern Greece, through Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy.

The emergence of this TAP-related entry for the DESFA sale certainly adds clout and bidding potential to the sale procedure.

France’s GRTgaz and Romania’s Transgas also joined forces as one of the other bidding teams. This formation should not be underestimated as GRTgaz stands one of the EU’s biggest energy sector firms operating the most extensive network of gas pipelines.

Questions regarding eligibility have emerged for members of three of the six bidding teams – Qatar’s Powerglobe, US firm Intergrated Utility Services, and Australia’s Macquarie Infrastructure.

A subsidiary of the Australian company maintains interests in an Italian network company. This could help Macquarie Infrastructure overcome EU-related restrictions.

The tender, according to its terms, is open to European operators as well as non-EU firms taking part as members of consortiums headed by European operators.