Gov’t encourages Chinese role in ELPE, DEPA privatizations

The Greek government has encouraged Chinese companies to take part in privatization fund TAIPED’s two major energy-sector sales, those of gas utility DEPA and Hellenic Petroleum ELPE.

A total of 16 bilateral agreements, incorporated into a List of Key Projects within the Cooperation Framework 2020-2022, were signed as part of an official visit to Greece by Chinese President Xi Jinping, heading a business delegation.

Beijing will now examine the projects proposed by Athens and encourage Chinese firms to participate.

Besides the forthcoming DEPA and ELPE privatizations, the Greek proposals include Chinese roles in the sale of an additional stake in power grid operator IPTO – China’s SGCC already holds a 24 percent stake – and the purchase of a stake in the operator’s subsidiary Ariadne, project promoter of the Crete-Athens electricity grid interconnection.

Though the list of key projects expresses a bilateral intention for cooperation, it is not binding, officials indicated.

Greece, broadening its energy-sector ties with China, needs to move carefully and comply with strict EU rules on domains of strategic importance such as refineries and natural gas.