Total and Edison, ELPE’s (Hellenic Petroleum) partners in a consortium established for exploration work at a block in the Ionian Sea, have hung on despite a delay in the final approval of their license by local authorities.
ELPE’s sound cooperation with its partners and incentives offered by the current market conditions have been vital in the patience shown by Total and Edison.
In two weeks from now, an international tender offering offshore exploration and exploitation licenses in the Ionian Sea, western Greece, and south of Crete, will have clocked up precisely two years since its launch.
Bids were submitted in July, 2015. ELPE and its consortium partners were awarded Block 2. The investors have since awaited the green light to begin exploration work before making important investment decisions on whether to conduct drilling or not.
Their patience shown so far cannot be considered a given. For example, Petroceltic withdrew from a venture concerning a license in the Gulf of Patras as a result of company changes and lower oil prices.
The consortium members for the Ionian Sea’s Block 2, which have pledged budgets for the project, are requested to reconfirm their interest every three months.
The signing of contracts and approval by a parliamentary committee are the next important steps. The investors hope this stage will be swiftly completed so as to enable them to launch survey work by next summer.
Vessels needed for survey work are currently in ample supply while research costs have been halved compared to two years ago. Both these factors offer added incentive to the investors.
ELPE officials believe that offshore exploration remains a feasible and profitable prospect despite the lower international crude oil prices.