Energy minister discusses new DESFA sale with Fluxys officials

Fluxys officials presented a profile of the Belgian natural gas transmission operator as well its intentions for Greece’s natural gas market through an investment in DESFA, the gas grid operator, during a meeting today with energy minister Giorgos Stathakis.

Various DESFA alternatives being examined by the Greek government were discussed during the session.

The government is preparing to launch a new international tender to offer a stake of DESFA following the recent collapse of an initial sale attempt offering a 66 percent share. The stake to be offered through the new sale remains undetermined.

The government wants to retain a 51 percent share for the Greek State, as is the objective with the ongoing sale of IPTO, the power grid operator.

However, this appears unlikely as TAIPED, the state privatization fund, now holds a 31 percent share of the Greek State’s 66 percent stake in DESFA. The sale of TAIPED’s 31 percent DESFA share, seen as inevitable, would leave the Greek State with 35 percent of the natural gas grid operator, not 51 percent – unless the Greek State seeks to acquire a portion of Hellenic Petroleum’s (ELPE) 35 percent share in DESFA.

It remains unknown how willing the country’s creditors will be to back the government’s forthcoming DESFA sale proposal.