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20.08.2015 09:32

Greece, Azerbaijan continue negotiations for stake in DESFA

Azerbaijan and Greece discussed the sale of a package of shares of DESFA gas transportation system operator to Azerbaijans State Oil Company.

The issue was discussed at a meeting between Greek Minister Panos Skourletis and SOCAR Energy SA Greece director general Anar Mammadov, the Greek Ministry of Reconstruction of Production, Environment and Energy said.

During the meeting, Skurletis stressed the positive attitude of the government in the field of energy cooperation with Azerbaijan.

On the same day, Skurletis met with Ian Bradshaw, the managing director of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline consortium, External Affairs Director Michael Hoffman, and Rikard Scoufias, TAP Country Manager for Greece.

The sides reviewed certain technical issues and agreed to hold a meeting soon to discuss and resolve the remaining issues to intensify actions that would pave the way for the design of TAP in Greece.

DESFA the Greek natural gas transmission manager plays a crucial role in the realization of major pipeline projects, including the Trans-Adriatic pipeline, Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector, and the newly proposed Turkish Stream.

Greeces government is considering selling a 49 percent stake in DESFA to SOCAR, while the Azerbaijan State Oil Company won a tender on the sale of a 66 percent share in DESFA for 400 million euros in December 2013.

The acquisition of DESFA by SOCAR is win-win deal for SOCAR, the Greek economy, and the EU as well. SOCAR was eyeing the sale to advance its presence and activities in the wider region of southeast Europe, and to boost the realization of the TAP project.

From Azerbaijans perspective, there is no conflict of interest in the state oil company SOCARs acquiring a majority stake in the Greek gas transmission system operator DESFA, Azerbaijans Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said earlier.

Currently, the deal is being considered by European Commissions Directorate-General for Competition, and the procedure will last until late 2015.

In November 2014, the European Commission started an inquiry into the deals compliance with EU regulations.

At present, SOCAR is carrying out work to ensure Azerbaijani gas supplies to Europe. Operations are underway for the second stage of development of the Shah Deniz offshore gas and condensate field, and for the expansion of the South Caucasus Pipeline.

Moreover, projects are being developed for construction of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline.

TAP, an 870 km long pipeline that is expected to start construction in 2016, will transport natural gas from the giant Shah Deniz 2 field in Azerbaijan to Europe. TAPs initial capacity will be 10 billion cubic meters per year, expandable to 20 billion cubic meters per year.

The pipeline will connect with the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, cross Greece, Albania, and the Adriatic Sea, before setting ashore in Southern Italy.

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