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EU Commission opens investigation into SOCAR acquisition

LNG Industry,

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of the Greek gas transmission system operator, DESFA, by SOCAR.

The investigation will consider whether the acquisition by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic is in line with the EU Merger Regulation.

LNG terminal

SOCAR's activities include the production of natural gas and the upstream wholesale sale of gas in Greece in the context of the Southern Gas Corridor. DESFA owns and operates Greek's sole high-pressure gas transmission and Greece's only LNG terminal and mainly transports gas through its network.

In a statement on its website, the Commission outlined its issues with the transaction: “The Commission has concerns that the transaction may reduce competition on the upstream wholesale supply market for natural gas in Greece because it could allow the merged entity to hinder SOCAR's competitors in accessing the Greek gas transmission network.

“The Commission aims to ensure that the sale of DESFA, part of the Greek government privatisation programme with a view to modernise and liberalise the energy markets, does not result in competitive harm and ultimately higher gas prices for consumers in Greece.”

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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