Snam plans to ‘establish Athens as base for southeast Mediterranean’

Snam will aim to contribute to Greece becoming a regional energy hub in the southeast Mediterranean, Federico Ermoli, chief international assets officer at Italy’s Snam, heading one of two bidding teams vying for a 66 percent stake in DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, has stressed in an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini.

Snam and its bidding partners, Spain’s Enagás Internacional and Belgium’s Fluxys, submitted a binding offer to the DEFSA tender last Friday. Staged by TAIPED, the state privatization fund, its content is still being processed before offers are opened, probably late next week.

Another Spanish entry, Regasificadora del Noroeste (Reganosa Asset Investments) joined forces with Romania’s Transgaz and the EBRD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, for the other offer.

“We aspire to further develop the company and contribute to making Greece an energy hub in the Mediterranean for natural gas stemming from various regions,” Ermoli remarked, while adding that DESFA requires strong partners capable of making investments for the future of the firm, country and its geopolitical role.

Commenting on Greece’s strategic importance for Snam, Ermoli said the firm intends to establish an office base in Athens to manage its activities concerning interests in the southeast Meditteranean region.

“The region possesses many natural gas opportunities from the Caspian region, Russia, and possibly Israel, Cyprus and Lebanon,” Ermoli noted. “Italy and Greece have an important role to play in the establishment of an energy union and a strategic partnership for the Mediterranean.”

Snam holds a 20 percent stake in the regional TAP natural gas pipeline project now being developed. A segment runs across northern Greece.