Azerbaijan's Socar closes in on Greek gas distributor

By bne IntelliNews June 20, 2013

bne -

Azerbaijan's state oil company is close to agreeing a deal to buy Greek gas distributor DESFA. The deal raises speculation that the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline holds the lead over Nabucco West in the race to carry gas from Azerbaijan's giant Shah Deniz field to Europe.

The State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (Socar) was the sole bidder for DESFA, a subsidiary of state gas company DEPA, in an auction on June 10. Athens attempted to privatise DEPA in early June, but no bidders came forward. The Greek government had been hoping to raise up to €900m from the sale, which would have gone a long way to reaching its target of raising €1.8bn from asset sales by the end of September.

Socar, however, bid in the separate auction for the distribution unit - which fits with its recent strategy of buying up assets in the neighbourhood: Turkey, Georgia and Romania for instance - The Azeri company was left as the only bidder after two potential rivals - Russian power company Sintez and a Czech-Greek team up featuring PPF and Terna Group - dropped out just ahead of the company going on the block.

An unnamed official told Reuters that Greece may agree the sale to Socar, which bid €400m for 66% of the company, as early as June 20. "The privatisation agency is very pleased, it's basically a done deal," the official said.

There is speculation that the link between Socar and the Greek company increases the likelihood that the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) may be selected to transport gas from the offshore Shah Deniz to Europe. TAP - which would run through Greece, across Albania, and under the Adriatic to Italy - is competing with the EU-backed Nabucco West to collect the gas at the Turkish border to carry it to European hubs. The Shah Deniz consortium is due to make a final decision on the route imminently.

Related Articles

Macedonia kept on hold as Balkans edges towards EU goal

Clare Nuttall in Bucharest -   Macedonia’s EU accession progress remains stalled amid the country’s worst political crisis in 14 years, while most countries in the Southeast Europe region have ... more

Austria's Erste rides CEE recovery to swing to profit in Jan-Sep

bne IntelliNews - Erste Group Bank saw the continuing economic recovery across Central and Eastern Europe push its January-September financial results back into net profit of €764.2mn, the ... more

INVISIBLE HAND: Rhetorical wizard Draghi conjures up a QE battle

Liam Halligan in London -   Mario Draghi is being hailed, once again, as a rhetorical wizard. The president of the European Central Bank has done it again. After the October meeting of the ECB’s ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss