ELPE to unite with major Western player for oil tender

ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) will submit offers for three or four offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea – of a total of twenty offered by Greece for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete through an international tender – as part of a consortium involving a major foreign partner, sources have informed energypress. Besides ELPE, Total and Exxon Mobil have acquired seismic survey data collected by PGS.

ELPE can only take part in the tender as part of a bigger consortium as the Greek company, alone, does not meet the technical requirements and experience demanded by the tender to take on the venture’s challenges, including exploration in ultra-deep sea waters.

The news of ELPE’s plan to place a bid confirms the intention of the Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Ministry to not extend the tender’s upcoming July 14 deadline.

It remains unknown which of the Ionian Sea offshore blocks will be targeted by the ELPE-linked consortium. Also still unclear is whether an offer will be made for “Block 1” in the region, which borders with Albanian economic interests in the Ionian Sea.

ELPE chief executive Grigoris Stergioulis recently asserted that an offer would be made for “Block 1” as a means of endorsing Greece’s territorial economic rights in the offshore area, even though the block does not offer particularly strong hydrocarbon potential. It is believed the move is currently being reexamined by the country’s energy authorities in association with Foreign Affairs Ministry officials.

Other than ELPE, Total and Exxon Mobil, no other companies are believed to be interested in submitting offers for the twenty offshore blocks. BP and Shell expressed some interest in the past but did not acquire the seismic survey data. Also, energy ministry officials do not expect companies from Venezuela, Brazil, and Russia to take part. Over the pst few months, Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis had met with the respective ambassadors to Greece of these nations, seeking to draw the interest of Venezuelan, Brazilian, and Russian energy companies.

According to energy ministry officials, the fallen price level of oil has developed into a greater determining factor for the tender’s prospects than Greece’s current political instability. Greece is also seen as a high-risk oil exploration investment as a result of the deep and unexplored waters, a combination that requires high-level investment.