The state Azeri natural gas firm SOCAR has rejected two of the three requests made by the Minister of Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Panagiotis Lafazanis for a reduction of the price of natural gas and to introduce transmission fees for transporting natural gas through Greek soil. SOCAR however has accepted the request for a shareholding participation of the Greek side in the TAP.

This development is said to be associated with the earlier decision by the European Commission to indefinitely suspend its investigation into the Azeri purchase of the Greek natural gas system operator DESFA. SOCAR’s Vice President on Investment and Marketing Elshad Nasirov told the Azeri news agency Azernews that the Greek request for a reduction of prices was not in line with international practices.

Mr. Nasirov explained that the agreement singed in 2013 for 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas on an annual basis may only be revised in case of a sudden change in prices. Furthermore, he argued that a price change would only be possible after consultation with the rest of the pipeline’s shareholders, which includes BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Statoil (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enaga (16%) and Axpo (5%). Regarding transmission fees, Mr. Nasirov claimed that there was no such provision and that this matter is something that Greece would have to discuss with the European Union.

The Azeri official was open to Greece purchasing more shares into the pipeline, but urged the Greek government to rush, hinting that others may also be interest in a stake in the southern stream. It remains to be seen whether the Greek state or state natural gas company DEPA will have the necessary funds.