Glencore joined by Carlyle, Vitol by Sonatrach in ELPE sale

Two new participants, US firm Carlyle and Algeria’s Sonatrach, have entered the ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) sale offering a 50.1 percent stake by establishing respective partnerships with the privatization’s list of two existing candidates, Switzerland’s Glencore and Dutch company Vitol.

Though not yet officially announced, the Glencore-Carlyle and Vitol-Sonatrach pairings have apparently cemented, sources in contact with these players have told energypress.

The ELPE sale’s new arrivals can be expected to raise hopes for higher offers when binding bids are submitted at a still-unspecified date within January.

Carlyle’s entry into the sale had been rumored prior to the procedure’s first round of non-binding bids, along with a list of other major players, including Italian petroleum firm Eni.

In a related development, the Greek State appears to have finalized a decision to participate with a 51 percent stake in a new hydrocarbon holding company referred to as ELPE Upstream. This means the winning bidding team of the ELPE sale will also acquire a 49 percent stake of the holding company. This, however, will depend on the approval of ELPE’s existing shareholders and, most crucially, prospective buyers.

All of ELPE’s exploration and production licenses have been transferred to this holding company as separate ventures. Though the Greek State will hold the right to appoint the holding company’s chief executive, the minority shareholder will decide on investment decisions through a veto right.