The Competition Committee's unanimous approval of the buyout by DEPA, Greece's natural gas company, of a 49 pct stake in EPA Attiki gas held by Shell "opens the way to the full implementation of our plan," Environment and Energy Giorgos Stathakis said on Wednesday.

Following the Greek committee's decision, Stathakis said that "the basic idea is to break the company into two parts, with the majority share in the commercial part being sold off to a strategic investor, and the state retaining its strong presence in the distribution network."