Energean reacts over disputed block in west, awarded to ELPE

Energean Oil & Gas has filed a legal case seeking the nullification of an energy ministry decision which awarded ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) exploration and exploitation licenses for two of three onshore blocks in western Greece, including Arta-Preveza, which Energean had contested.

Energean, which filed a law suit last week, contends that the tender’s terms were not observed, noting that ELPE should not have been awarded the two onshore licenses as the company has no proven track record in the hydrocarbon field.

Energean has been working deposits in the Prinos area, northern Greece for years. ELPE, in which the state holds a 35 percent stake, is specialized in the refining industry.

The legal course taken by Energean was essentially provoked by the energy ministry’s decision to award the Arta-Preveza block to ELPE. Of the three onshore blocks offered in western Greece through a tender, it was the only one to attract offers from both Energean and ELPE.

Prior to the energy ministry’s decision, the two companies, encouraged by energy minister Panos Skourletis, had sought to establish a joint venture. Following a number of meetings, the effort fell through, a key dispute being which side would assume the operator’s role. Energean believed it should take on the operator’s role, considering its proven experience and knowhow. The energy ministry awarded the Arta-Preveza block to ELPE once these talks failed to produce a result.

A block in Etoloakarnania was granted to Energean Oil & Gas, the sole bidder, while the procedure’s third block, in northwestern Peloponnese, was awarded to ELPE, also the only bidder.

Throughout the tender, Energean had expressed doubts, including in writing to the appraisal committee, as to whether ELPE was qualified to take part.

Meanwhile, the energy ministry yesterday announced that the appraisal of offers submitted to a tender for offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea, western Greece, and south of Crete, has been postponed until June 30.