Energean chief upbeat on big foreign investments for oil

Greece possesses a rare opportunity to draw major foreign investments for exploration work concerning new hydrocarbon deposits, Mathios Rigas, Chairman and CEO at Energean Oil & Gas, the country’s only enterprise active in oil exploration and production, has stressed in an interview with local business publication Hrima.

Energean’s chief described Greece as a secure country, contrary to many in the wider region, that remains largely unexplored by oil companies.

Even amid the current period of subdued investments, internationally, the country may still draw capital and knowhow of foreign oil majors under two conditions, one being by offering a stable and transparent climate, the other by putting an end to interventive practices by parties with vested interests, performed to obstruct undesired activities by new players, Rigas pointed out.

Energean’s boss, in the interview, did not hesitate to admit that he was seen as somewhat of a “madman” when, in 2007, he decided to focus on exploration and production in northern Greece’s offshore Prinos oil fields. The risk is paying off and has boosted production and proven reserves, a development that has drawn considerable capital support from major Greek shipping companies, the US fund Third Point, as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Having established an oil production base for the next twenty years, Energean is now taking steps to further establish itself with exploration work for new deposits in Greece and the wider region, such as Egypt, the objective being for the company to grow into an independent regional force to be reckoned with, Rigas explained.

Energean also wants to conduct exploration work in the Aegean Sea if future political conditions allow, Rigas noted.

Commenting on domestic oil sector developments, he criticized ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) for its interventions aiming to stop Energean’s exploration work at its licenses in the Prinos area.

Rigas also remarked that the Greek State should have refrained from going ahead last summer with an international tender offering twenty offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete. The procedure, which coincided with intense political and economic turmoil in Greece and the threat of a Grexit, as well as drastically reduced oil prices internationally, flopped, drawing just one offer for three of the twenty blocks.