The basic framework for the government’s energy privatisation plan was agreed today in talks between representatives of Greece’s creditors and Environment and Energy Minister Yorgos Stathakis.
“We made great progress today,” Stathakis said after today’s meeting.
“We are drafting a timetable for the lignite plants,” he added, noting that the two sides are looking at the procedures that will be followed in the relevant tenders, which will be conducted by the EU’s Directorate General for Competition (DG COMP).
Still, the government’s initial commitment to complete the sales by 1 June, 2018, remains in place.
The lignite sell-off and energy privatisation is a top prerequisite for completion of the third bailout evaluation, which is expected to be formally approved by the Eurogroup on 22 January.
The framework agreement on energy will be finalised by Friday, 1 December, and DG COMP will begin the market tests immediately thereafter.
The market tests will determine the level of interest in the Greek Public Power Corpoeration’s (DEH) lignite plants.
Workers must be kept on
Stathakis underlined that a top priority of the government is to maintain the jobs at the lignite plants that are up for sale.
“No unit will be sold without the workers,” he said.
The government has asked for certain offsets in the deal, such as extending the hours of operation of the lignite plant in Amyntaio “with the presence of an investor”, and in the plant at Kardia, “without the presence of an investor”.
Opening natural gas market
The second energy privatisation issue being discussed is the opening up of the natural gas market.
The proposal submitted by the Greek side is for the Public Gas Corporation of Greece (DEPA) to sell its 51 percent stake in Thessaloniki-Thessaly Gas Corporation to the Italian Eni international oil and gas company, and then to buy out from DEPA Shell’s 49 percent stake in the Attica Gas Corporation.