Natig Aliyev: “Azerbaijan concerned by prolongation of European Commission’s DESFA investigation

Baku: “We are wondering why he European Commission is taking so long to decide”

“Azerbaijan, which has acquired Greek gas transmission system operator DESFA, is wondering why the European Commission is taking so long to decide if the deal is compatible with EU law”, Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan Natig Aliyev told EurActiv.

According to him, in December 2013, Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil and gas producer SOCAR won the tender, and both a 66% stake in Greece’s gas transmission operator DESFA, for €400 million: “The Greek state controls the remaining 34% stake in DESFA. The deal boosted the chances that the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will win its bid for Azeri gas, against its competitor Nabucco, and indeed, soon after, TAP won over Nabucco. SOCAR has a 20% stake in TAP”.

But in November 2014, the Commission opened an in-depth investigation to determine whether the acquisition of DESFA SOCAR is in line with the EU Merger Regulation.

Aliyev, who met yesterday in Brussels with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, told EurActiv that he conveyed his country’s worries about the procedure.

The minister explained that from Azerbaijan’s perspective, there was no conflict of interest in acquiring the majority stake in SOCAR.

SOURCE: Azeri Press News Agency