An international tender offering exploration and exploitation rights to offshore blocks southwest and west of Crete, as well as the Ionian, is expected to be published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ) within the next ten days, sources have informed.
The tender, announced on August 17, also needs to be published in the OJ, the EU’s official gazette of record, before the countdown for binding offers begins. Once published, interested parties will have 90 days to submit their offers to EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company.
Certain pundits have linked the anticipated speed-up of the tender’s publication to ExxonMobil’s Cretan interest and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s current official visit to the US for a meeting with President Donald Trump.
The interest expressed by ExxonMobil, joined by France’s Total and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) as consortium partners, prompted Greece’s energy ministry to proceed with the tender.
If no other investors emerge with offers, then the Greek State will move ahead and begin negotiations with this three-member consortium.
Italy’s ENI, which discovered Zor, the gigantic Egyptian gas field, is rumored to be interested in two Crete offshore blocks, one southwest, the other west of the island. The Italian firm has already established operations in Cyprus and is eyeing the wider southeast Mediterranean region.