Trend News Agency: SOCAR to talk DESFA with Greek minister

By Maksim Tsurkov

Officials of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR will meet with Giorgos Stathakis, Greek minister of economy, in Athens Nov. 22 to discuss closing SOCAR’s deal to purchase a stake in Greece’s national gas transmission system operator DESFA, Greek media reported.

According to the report, the meeting will be of great importance for the final deal.

“Vitaly Baylarbayov, SOCAR deputy vice president for investments and marketing, will meet with Stathakis November 22 as DESFA privatization lags greatly,” the report said.

The Azerbaijani side is assessing the purchase of a stake in DESFA worth 260 million euros after the law was adopted on new rules of calculating gas tariffs in Greece.

The Azerbaijani side thinks the new rules limit the profitability of the deal.

“Representatives of the Italian Snam are expected to participate in the meeting,” the report said. “SOCAR says the difference in value of the company as compared to the originally agreed price of 400 million euros is about 100 million euros.”

SOCAR won a tender in 2013 on the purchase of a 66-percent stake in DESFA for 400 million euros.

The Azerbaijani company will obtain 31 percent from the Greek government and will buy the complete package of 35 percent of the Hellenic Petroleum.

The deal will be closed only after the purchase of at least a 17-percent stake out of SOCAR’s 66-percent stake by Italy’s Snam.