Socar´s CEO Rovnag Abdullayev announced on September 23, 2016, that he plans to hold talks with Greek officials over a deal to buy Greek natural gas pipeline operator DESFA.
«Our delegation will hold negotiations in Greece on September 27-28», said Rovnag Abdullayev.
Socar´s CEO said that the company was ready to go ahead with the deal but Desfa's price should be substantially cut. SOCAR's letter of guarantee for the acquisition expires on September 30, 2016.
He urged the media not to create a fuss around the deal as, according to him, it is necessary to respect the Greek government position.
It was reported earlier that Socar is awaiting a compromise on the part of the Greek government for the successful completion of the acquisition of a 66% stake in Desfa. In particular, the Greek side has changed the rules for the calculation of tariffs for gas, which, according to Socar's estimations, will lead to at least a 50% loss of Desfa’s value. Socar said that it is not ready for new conditions as they are not so interesting for the company.
Socar agreed to buy 66% of Desfa for $446 mln after winning an international tender in 2013. After being ordered by the European Commission to surrender a 17% share to a certified European operator, Socar agreed to resell part of its 66% to Italian gas grid Snam. Earlier Abdullayev acknowledged that talks were ongoing between the Greek government and Snam.
Greek newspaper Ekathimerini reported on September 21 that prime minister Alexis Tsipras wants to lead the privatisation talks, as his energy minister Panos Skourletis does not see eye-to-eye with either Socar or Italy's Snam.