November 2, 2012
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Gazprom eyes stake in Greek gas sector

Shareholders of Greek energy company DEPA are considering an expression of interest from Gazprom as it moves toward privatization, an executive said.

DEPA announced plans for privatization this year. Harry Sachinis, the chief executive officer at the company, told online news magazine New Europe that Russian energy company Gazprom was among 14 companies expressing interest.

"By Nov. 5 we will know who is coming, who has real interest, which are the biggest special offers and we'll take it from there," he was quoted as saying.

The Natural Gas Europe website notes that Gazprom is one of the largest suppliers of natural gas to DEPA. The trade agreement between the companies expires in 2016.

Greece is situated along the potential route for South Stream, a natural gas pipeline planned by Gazprom that would carry about 2.2 trillion cubic feet of gas per year when it goes into service by 2015.

Sachinis brushed off concerns that close ties with Gazprom would undermine European efforts to break the Russian grip on the natural gas sector.

Anyone can construct a pipeline, he said."If the market is attractive to someone, regardless who will buy DEPA a new player can enter the market."

Europe gets about 20 percent of its natural gas from Gazprom.

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