Simonov: DESFA sale to Socar breaches European law

The sale of DESFA, Greece’s Natural Gas Transmission System Operator, to Azerbaijani firm Socar, breaches European law, the Russian managing director of National Energy Security Fund, Mr. Konstantin Simonov, supported during a speech at an Economist conference in Athens yesterday.

“The decision by Greece to sell DESFA to Socar breaches the energy-sector package,” Mr. Simonov remarked. “This, however, is something that Brussels is not responding to with clarity.”

Referring to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Mr. Simonov noted: “We will face a new natural gas crisis in the winter, and Russia will not be responsible.”

According to Mr. Simonov, Russian was prepared to offer discounts, but the Ukrainians refused. “Ukraine will have a serious problem next winter, so what are they going to do? [Ukraine] will need to take transit orders destined for other European countries, so we will have a new crisis,” he noted.

Commenting on South Stream – a planned pipeline to transport Russian natural gas through the Black Sea to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria – the Russian official noted that the project did not intend to bolster Russia’s monopoly, and, by extension, the country’s geopolitical power. Instead, he noted, the project represented a wider plan aimed at securing gas supply to the European Union.