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DESFA Transfer Crucial for Azerbaijan

The key to the implementation of the TAP pipeline that will carry natural gas from Azerbaijan to the EU, is the completion of the transfer of the Greek Natural Gas Transmission System DESFA.

This is the message, the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev and the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras want to send stressing the importance of alternative fuel sources, beyond Russian Gazprom, for the energy security of the EU.
Especially after the construction of the Russian pipeline South Stream was halted by Bulgaria, and the crisis in Ukraine, TAP is gaining points for the energy security of the EU.

Mr. Aliyev is in Athens and met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, Environment and Energy Minister Yannis Maniatis, and Deputy Environment Minister Makis Papageorgiou.
Athens and Baku, are sealing a very good cooperation on the relationship they built starting last May, when the Prime Minister and Mr. Papageorgiou had visited Mr Aliyev at the Azerbaijani capital. This was followed a few months later by the acquisition of 66% of DESFA, the company which owns the national grid and the major infrastructure (the liquified gas terminal at Revythoussa) by the state company of Azerbaijan, Socar. The price came to 400 million euros.
From last year to this year the Patent Committee has not completed the procedures for approving the sale, as required by administrative procedures, and as Socar belongs to a country which is not a member of the EU. An important step in disentangling the transfer came a few days ago, when Energy Regulatory Authority certified DESFA as an independent Natural Gas Transmission System. Something which the commission has been asking for. According to information, the selling process can be completed, in autumn.
The President of Azerbaijan, therefore, is visiting Athens, in an effort to coordinate actions with the Greek Premier to complete the sale of DESFA, which is required to implement the TAP pipeline. The investment is worth about 1.5 billion euros and will create 10,000 to 12,000 jobs.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015. The gas for the pipeline will come from the Azeri Shah Deniz field. TAP will connect on Turkish soil with the TANAP pipeline and crossing the Turkish border, through northern Greece, will pass through Albania and from there underwater will go to Italy. TAP will transport gas volumes of 10 billion cubic meters a year, that may be increased to 20 billion cubic meters
Exports of Azeri Socar will not be confined to the Greek market, trough cooperation with DESFA. Conversely, buying DESFA, SOCAR will be have a larger role as the gateway for the import of natural gas to the EU through Southeastern Europe, and will therefore play a central role in the energy security of the whole region.
This importance is due to the the Greek transport networks managed by DESFA, including interfaces with grids of neighboring countries, and Revithoussa-the most important terminal for liquefied natural gas in Southeastern Europe. In this way, the DESFA network already allows the import of natural gas from various sources, mostly from Azerbaijan through Turkey, but also from Russia via Bulgaria and LNG from sources such as Algeria.