ELPE, Exxon, Total express exploration interest for broad offshore area

A powerhouse consortium comprised of ExxonMobil, Total and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) has expressed an interest to Greek authorities for hydrocarbon exploration work covering a gigantic offshore expanse southwest of the Peloponese and stretching all the way to the island Gavdos, south of Crete, according to souces.

Quite clearly, the trio is interested in exploring deep-sea regions for which sufficient data does not yet exist. The only favorable hydrocarbon hints at this stage are limited to encouraging signs provided by previous seismic surveys at specific areas.

The wider area of interest, measuring numerous square kilometers, includes offshore blocks that had been incorporated into an international hydrocarbon tender back in 2013.

The areas framed by the consortium are not located in any disputed zones. All are clearly located within Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The Greek State does not face any deadline as to the time period it has at its disposal to respond to the consortium’s proposal. However, once the proposal has been officially received, the Greek State will need to publish the consortium’s expression of interest in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ), formalizing its acceptance and setting the terms of an international tender. The publication will need to remain in the OJ for at least one month.

An announcement of a tender within the current year, followed by the launch of seismic survey work in 2018, whose results will determine future moves, is viewed as timely progress.