New pricing plan takes DESFA sale a step closer to finalization

An increased recoverable amount and a shorter collection period represent two crucial details that may steer the Greek government, Azerebaijani energy firm Socar and Italy’s Snam towards a deal for a 66 percent share of DESFA, the natural gas grid operator. An agreement in principle appears to have been reached.

The vital details, included in a revised pricing regulation policy for the operator announced by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, confirm previous energypress reports.

In its announcement of the revisions, posted on the RAE website, the authority notes that DESFA’s recoverable amount will increase as a result of the addition of 2016 to the time period entailed. Previously, the period spanned 2006 to 2015 but has been widened to cover 2006 to 2016. The revision brings the recoverable total to 326 million euros, up from 285 million euros, the level that had been set by a previous energy ministry decision on DESFA, which prompted Socar to take a step back from the long-running DESFA sale.

Also, according to RAE, the collection time for the aforementioned amount will be halved from 40 years to 20 years.

Socar had emerged as the winning bidder of an international tender for a 66 percent share of DESFA in 2013. Last year, the European Commission intervened by demanding that the Azerbaijaini firm surrender ar least 17 percent to a certified European operator. Snam has since entered the picture.

An announcement of a DESFA network usage fee hike, one of the main contentious issues between the Greek government and Socar, still needs to be announced.

According to sources, the network usage fee hike will be set at 35 percent, rather than 68 percent as originally planned by Greece’s energy ministry, and 23 percent, as had been proposed by RAE.

DESFA’s new pricing policy, based on the revised regulations, will concern the years 2017 and 2018 before being revised for 2019-2022, based on 2017 as the reference year. A further revision will take place in 2022, covering 2023 to 2026, with 2021 as the reference year.