Promising talks held with 17% DESFA stake candidates

Extremely promising preliminary talks have reportedly taken place between Greek officials and at least three European companies interested in acquiring a 17 percent equity share of DESFA, Greece’s gas grid operator, expected to be surrendered by Azeri energy company Socar.

Belgium’s Fluxys, Dutch company Gasunie, and an Italian company, possibly Snam Rete Gas, are believed to have emerged as candidates.

The Azeri company had originally agreed to acquire a 66 percent equity share of DESFA for 400 million euros, but now appears prepared to let go of 17 percent share and settle for a 49 percent stake.

The initial agreement was stalled last November by a European Commission investigation into the deal, presumably over EU energy security and competition concerns.

However, yesterday’s news of a decision reached to extend a deadline set for the sale of DESFA, including a Socar guarantee, until the end of December, clearly indicates that the sale remains alive and that a solution may have been found.