ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) and Energean Oil & Gas, the winning bidders for exploration and exploitation rights at three blocks along western Greece, have been sent their respective contracts by the energy ministry to be signed.
ELPE was selected for an onshore block in the Arta-Preveza area, northwest Greece, also contested by Energean, and a second block in the northwest Peloponnese, for which it was the only bidder. A third block in the Etoloakarnania area was awarded to Energean Oil & Gas, also the sole bidder.
An international tender offering exploration and exploitation rights for these blocks was completed last February.
The bids submitted by ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) and Energean Oil & Gas for the Arta-Preveza block were assessed as being of equal merit. Then, late last year, energy minister Panos Skourletis requested that the rival bidders negotiate for a joint solution and establishment of a partnership for the venture. An initial effort made by the two sides failed to produce any results. The block was then awarded to ELPE.
Once the contracts are signed, the companies will be able to launch preliminary research activity. Signs of deposits have already been accumulated through older research efforts, by other companies, that were not further developed.
In 1978, DEP, the Public Petroleum Company, an ELPE precursor, was awarded a license for the northwest Peloponnese area, both offshore and onshore, and went on to conduct over 20 drilling efforts that were not followed through. The area was subsequently returned to the Greek State in 2007.
In 1981, DEP was awarded exploration and exploitation rights for Ioannina, Arta and Thesprotia, all located in the Epirus area, northwest Greece, and conducted geophysical research and eight drilling projects.
During the late 90s, a consortium headed by Triton, the now-defunct US oil and gas exploration and production company, also involving ELPE as a partner, conducted two fruitless drills in the Etoloakarnania area before the license was returned to the Greek State.
The overall past activity offers a clearer picture for the latest generation of companies preparing to utilize their licenses in the area. New and improved technology will also provide additional support, increasing the probability of success.
Over the past couple of years, Energean has conducted a series of surveys in the Ioannina region, including high-resolution Airborne Gravity Gradiometry (AGG) work that has provided aeromagnetic data and high-resolution digital elevation mapping as part of the company’s exploration work program.