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REGULATORY ALERTS – Noble in Cyprus & Gazprom Withdraws from Greece

Noble Seals Cyprus LNG Terminal Deal

Last week, Cyprus approved a deal with Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) and its Israeli partners (Delek Drilling LP and Avner Oil Exploration LLP) for construction of an LNG terminal on the island. We don’t have the financial details of the deal yet, but this looks good for Noble, which is riding high on major finds in Israel’s Levant Basin, with major interest in the Leviathan and Tamar fields, the latter which began producing earlier this year. Also last week, Israel made a decision on gas exports, allowing 40% of its natural gas for export, keeping the rest for domestic use.

Gazprom Withdraws from Greece Public Gas Tender

Russian Gazprom appears to have withdrawn from bidding for Greece’s Public Gas Corporation (DEPA). Bids were due on 10 June, but Gazprom’s didn’t make it, with the company later saying that the Greek government failed to offer enough incentives for the acquisition. All evidence, however, is to the contrary. Greece had met all of Gazprom’s demands for this deal as it was keen on ensuring it went through. Instead, Gazprom likely withdrew after European Commission warnings (tongue-in-cheek) that Gazprom’s attempts to acquire DEPA would violate the European Union’s energy market and competition laws.

As we noted earlier this month, a minor Russian holding was attempting to bid on DEFSA, Greece’s state-owned Gas Transmission System Operator, as a proxy for Gazprom. This would have given Gazprom control over both DEPA and DEFSA. DESFA is fully owned by DEPA, but the two are being sold separately. DESFA is valued at about $650 million, and it operates all the country’s transmission pipelines and the entire distribution network, along with an LNG terminal. EU energy legislation prohibits Gazprom—a gas supplier—from acquiring DESFA pipelines, hence the proxy (Sintez).




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