Kavala UGS privatization delay, DEPA Commercial sale on hold

The final round of privatization fund TAIPED’s tender for a prospective underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) at the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala” in the Aegean Sea’s north has, once again, been postponed for a latter date, according to the privatization fund’s updated asset development plan.

The deadline for this UGS privatization’s binding bids will be reset for the final quarter of the year, possibly in October or November, after being planned for May or June, sources informed.

A number of issues are delaying the privatization’s completion. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, still needs to issue a pricing framework that will determine pricing details concerning the use of the UGS, the privatization fund informed.

Also, the fund is awaiting an EU regulation concerning compulsory gas storage requirements for member states, so that it may be included in the UGS project’s cost-benefit analysis.

In addition, a dispute between gas grid operator DESFA and RAE over the South Kavala UGS project’s accompanying projects is another obstacle preventing the tender’s continuation.

Elsewhere, in another major energy-sector privatization, gas company DEPA Commercial’s privatization appears to have been put on hold, indefinitely, as TAIPED, the privatization fund, in its update, noted alternatives need to be considered as a result of international developments and legal issues, a reference to the gas company’s ongoing legal battle with fertilizer producer ELFE.

ELFE is seeking compensation from DEPA, claiming overpriced gas supply between 2010 and 2015, while DEPA has filed a legal case seeking overdue amounts from the fertilizer producer, based in Kavala, northern Greece.

DEPA Commercial’s privatization has remained stagnant at the binding-bids stage for over a year.