Trend News Agency: Successful DESFA deal in interest of both SOCAR and Greece

Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR will consult with Italy’s Snam in the negotiations with Greece on purchasing a 66-percent share in Greek gas operator DESFA, Vitaliy Baylarbayov, deputy vice-president of SOCAR for Investments and Marketing, told EurActiv.

SOCAR won a tender in 2013 on the purchase of a 66-percent stake in DESFA for 400 million euros. SOCAR plans to purchase a 31-percent stake of DESFA from the Greek government, and a 35-percent stake from Hellenic Petroleum SA.

Earlier, Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said the deal on SOCAR’s purchasing the 66-percent share in DESFA will be completed after Snam buys 17 percent of that share.

“We respect the Greek government effort to ensure the best conditions for the consumers of the DESFA network, be them industrial or private,” said Baylarbayov.

Both SOCAR and Greece know the importance of the issue, he added.

Baylarbayov pointed out that Greek government made proof of its constructive attitude at a recent meeting between SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Baylarbayov recalled that Tsipras said he is committed to seek, during this month, a solution acceptable to both sides.

SOCAR deputy vice-president pointed out that the objective is to find, in less than a month, a solution which would be good for both sides.

“What makes things more difficult is that the methodology has changed, which impacts the price of DESFA,” he added.

SOCAR agreed to pay a certain price for the company, Baylarbayov said, adding that in the meantime, the price changed, it became smaller.

“But I am sure that from the side of SOCAR, and also from the side of the Greek government, in accordance with the statements of the prime minister, a constructive approach will be followed,” he said. “It is in the interest of both sides that the protracted process of privatization of DESFA is successfully completed. We don’t guarantee, but we hope that the goal can be reached.”

“What adds optimism is that SOCAR is not alone in this process,” said Baylarbayov.