ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) and Energean Oil & Gas appear to be close to an agreement for exploration and exploitation work at an onshore hydrocarbon block in the Arta-Preveza area, western Greece. However, the two sides still need to agree on who will assume the operator’s role in the venture.
If the two companies are unable to reach an agreement determining which of the two will spearhead the venture, then a finalized agreement may well not be achieved. They have been negotiating over the past few weeks.
Both ELPE and Energean Oil & Gas placed bids for the Arta-Preveza block in a recent international tender. Appraisal authorities have announced both offers were of equal merit. The tender’s outcome is expected to be announced this week.
According to sources, Energean Oil & Gas has insisted on taking on the operator’s role in the prospective partnership with ELPE, stressing it possesses the required knowhow. ELPE has yet to discose any details on whether it would be willing to back down.
Neither side insists on holding a 51 percent stake in the venture, but both sides emerged from the latest round of talks appearing determined to secure the operator’s role. Even so, it is widely believed that a solution will be found as both sides appear prepared to compromise.
Following the latest meeting between officials of the two bidding companies, ELPE managing director Grigoris Stergioulis met with energy minister Panos Skourletis, who sought a first-hand update on the talks. The Greek state holds a 35 percent stake in ELPE.
Skourletis and his team are promoting the establishment of a joint effort between the two enterprises for the onshore block in western Greece. Speaking recently in Greek Parliament, the minister called on both sides to reach an agreement and begin work together at the license. The minister has generally played a constructive intermediary role in helping ELPE and Energean Oil & Gas draw closer together.
The prospective partners are engaged in a legal dispute over seismic survey work conducted by Energean Oil & Gas in the Thracian Sea, northern Greece.