Exploration and production agreements for two offshore blocks west and southwest of Crete awarded a year-and-a-half ago to a consortium comprising ExxonMobil, Total and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) will be ratified in Greek parliament by May, the latest, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has assured a leading ExxonMobil official.
Tristan Aspray, ExxonMobil’s Vice President of Exploration for Europe, Russia, and the Caspian, has apparently accepted the minister’s commitment with satisfaction, but this remains unconfirmed.
The two officials met on the sidelines of the Delphi Economic Forum, a high-profile four-day event that ended yesterday.
Consortium officials have begun showing signs of frustration over the slow-moving licensing procedure for the two offshore Crete blocks.
In a carefully worded statement, the US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, who also attended the forum, noted he was eager to see the bureaucratic delays come to an end so that exploration work off Crete could commence.
The tender for the two offshore Crete blocks was launched in December, 2017. The ExxonMobil-Total-ELPE consortium submitted its bid in March, 2018 before it was endorsed four months later. If parliament ratifies the related licenses in May, the entire procedure will have taken 18 months to complete.