The consortium led by Spanish company Reganosa, including Romanian state-owned monopoly Transgaz and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), lost the bid for Greece’s grid operator DESFA, Athens accepting a EUR 535 million offer from the rival consortium led by Italy’s Snam, according to Reuters.
DESFA runs a gas transport network by pipelines of 1,459 km in Greece. The winning bidder was a consortium of Italy’s Snam, Spain’s Enagas Internacional and Belgium’s Fluxys.
The sale of a majority stake in DESFA is mandated under Greece’s latest international financial bailout. The Greek government is selling a 31 percent stake in DESFA and Hellenic Petroleum, Greece’s biggest oil refiner, 35 percent.
For Greece is the second attempt to sale the company, after a previous EUR 400 million deal with Azerbaijan’s SOCAR fell through.
For Transgaz, the bid was the first major attempt to step outside Romania, in an area dominated for decades by Russian giant Gazprom, the main gas supplyer of the countries from the region.
The Greek paper Ekathimerini wrote, citing anonymous sources, that Brussels and Washington were in favor of the Romanian company in DESFA bid, which can serve the vertical route linking Romania, Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria and Greece, ensuring the transmission of gas from the Caspian Sea to Central Europe.
According to the Greek paper, there is a common desire of the European Union and the United States to strengthen alternative routes for the supply of energy to Europe, sidestepping Russia.