New appraisal extension delays offshore block contracts

The energy ministry has extended, yet again, an appraisal deadline leading to finalized contracts for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation licenses concerning blocks in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete until June 30.

This latest extension further delays the long-running process, launched back in November, 2014. Investors needed to meet a July 14, 2015 deadline for binding bids.

Though licenses for a total of 20 offshore blocks were offered through the tender, the overall investor interest was restricted to just three units.

Last October, a consortium comprised of Total, Edison and ELPE was declared the preferred bidder for one of these three units, Block 2 in the Ionian Sea, west of Corfu.

Then, at the end of 2016, the energy ministry extended the appraisals deadline concerning the two other bids to February 28. The latest decsion further extends this just-expired deadline to June 30.

As was recently reported by energypress, the energy ministry appears to be planning to launch a new tender for offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete, once necessary legal framework adjustments have been made.

Market pundits believe that the subdued interest expressed in the first tender may be attributed to the Greek crisis, the country’s political uncertainty at the time of the tender, as well as low oil prices.

These factors combined to discourage investors, especially as the blocks offered are located in regions that remain unexplored. Certain legal framework details also acted as disincentives, pundits believe.

Speaking at a recent energy conference, Greece’s energy minister Giorgos Stathakis informed that a new legal framework for the entire procedure is being prepared, the objective being to produce more favorable results. Stathakis also told the conference’s participants that a new tender would be staged during his tenure at the energy ministry’s helm.

Greece’s energy ministry intends to draw from the knowhow gained by Cyprus in the hydrocarbon sector.