SOCAR expects to resolve DESFA issue at the end of the year

SOCAR is keen on LNG business

Baku. 31 March. REPORT.AZ/ Baku. 31 March. REPORT.AZ/ The issue of privatization of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) of 66% stake of Greece gas distribution network operator - DESFA and sale of 17% share to European companies can be solved by the end of this year.

Report informs referring to the website Natural Gas Europe, SOCAR said.

"The acquisition of SOCAR controlling stake in DESFA is of great importance for Azerbaijan. Currently we are in the process of reducing the stake of Desfa through sales to potential buyers in Europe and this process is expected to be completed in late 2016", said the source in the company.

The source in the SOCAR denied any rumours that company was set to withdraw from the Desfa deal owing to the plunge in oil and gas prices over the past couple of years. The source also stated that the state oil company is keen on LNG business: "The plans to upgrade the country’s LNG terminal in Revythoussa near Athens will meet these interests and is important for gas supply in the wider region beyond current route of the southern gas corridor."

Last December SOCAR has extended their sales and purchase agreement (SPA) for the deal by six months. Socar originally agreed to purchase a 66% stake in Desfa for €400mn after winning an international tender in 2013.

However, the acquisition of major stake in the Greek gas transmission operator is still on hold as the European Commission intervened to demand that it surrender 17% to a certified European operator.

Fluxys, Snam and Enagas are partners in the TransAdriatic pipeline that will deliver gas from Shah Deniz 2 gas development in Caspian to Greece and Italy. Earlier, the Greek media said that Fluxys has refused to negotiate.

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