Local exploration licenses on hold amid fallen crude prices

The appraisal deadine for offers submitted to a tender concerning exploration and exploitation of blocks in Etoloakarnania, northwest Peloponnese, and Arta-Preveza, all on the west side of Greece, has been extended to April 30, following a ministerial decision signed by energy minister Panos Skourletis.

The appraisal extension, the third for the tender, was made as a result of the unfavorable conditions in the global oil industry as a result of sunken crude prices.

ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) and Energean Oil & Gas both submitted bids for the Arta-Preveza area. ELPE also bid for the northwest Peloponnese block, while Energean placed a second bid for the Etoloakarnania a block. The offers were all submitted nearly a year ago, on February 6, 2015, the bidding procedure’s deadline.

ELPE and Energean Oil & Gas may join forces to establish a joint venture for the Arta-Preveza block, despite deep differences that have placed the companies at odds in the past. The energy ministry has encouraged the two Greek firms to unite for the Arta-Preveza project. The two have submitted offers of equal merit, according to official information released to date.

ELPE and Energean Oil & Gas will need to decide which of the two will be appointed the Arta-Preveza venture’s operator if a finalized agreement is to be reached. Energean is vying for the role based on the fact that it is the sole bidder possessing experience in both exploration and production, at the Prinos deposit, in northern Greece.

The latest appraisal deadine extension offered by the energy ministry is considered necessary in order to offer ELPE and Energean Oil & Gas time to negotiate their prospective joint venture for the Arta-Preveza license.

Survey work and drilling efforts conducted in the past at all three blocks have proven their production potential. However, the fallen crude prices, which have increased the oil industry’s risk factor, internationally, stand as a major obstacle for the two Greek firms seeking to explore the Etoloakarnania, northwest Peloponnese, and Arta-Preveza blocks.