Government preparing to launch new DESFA tender

The Greek government and TAIPED, the state privatization fund, are preparing to launch a new international tender for the sale of a stake in DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator, following the recent collapse of a long-running sale procedure through which the Azerbaijani energy firm Socar, joined later on by Italy’s Snam, were the candidate buyers for a 66 percent stake.

At this stage, it remains unclear how big a stake of DESFA will be offered through the new sale attempt.

Thoughts of keeping the original tender valid once negotiations broke down were expressed by the country’s international creditors, in a bid to save time, but this would not be legally feasible.

Officials at TAIPED informed energypress that, at best, the new tender will not be completed before the third quarter of 2017.

Though the original tender theoretically remains alive, it is now believed to be just a matter of days before TAIPED nullifies the procedure.

Over the past few days, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis, since his return from an official visit to New York City, has held talks with officials at TAIPED and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), which holds a 35 percent stake of the operator’s parent company DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, also on the privatizations agenda.

Given the country’s rapid gas sector developments amid the sector’s ongoing market liberalization, a number of ELPE officials believe it is crucial for the oil company to maintain its presence in this domain’s infrastructure.

Greek government officials are now expected to inform parties that have expressed an interest in DESFA of the upcoming new tender. These include Belgium’s Fluxys and Romania’s Transgas.