Russian gas giant Gazprom was admitted to a tender to buy a majority stake in Greece's DEPA gas monopoly to ensure direct supplies to European consumers, the Greek state privatization agency told RIA Novosti late on Wednesday.
Gazprom and Russia's mid-sized Negusneft oil firm comply with the tender requirements, along with 12 other companies from different countries, including Japan's Mitsui, Italy's Eni and Edison, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) said.
The winner of the tender will be announced in May, a source in the HRADF previously told RIA Novosti.
The Greek government planned to sell 55 percent of DEPA and 31 percent of its transport branch DESFA in the fourth quarter of 2011 but privatization slowed down due to provisions of the EU Third Energy Package, which requires the separation of energy production, transportation and sales.
The two Greek companies may cost from $1.5 billion to $2 billion, but the price is likely to be lower taking into account the current debt problems of the country, Nomos-Bank analyst Denis Borisov said in late February.
Greece which is teetering on a brink of a default over its massive debt and the Greek government is likely to sell large state assets to remedy the situation.
Gazprom exported 2.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Greece in 2011.