Non-European partner also linked to ELPE oil tender plans

Although ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) is widely expected to be joined by a fellow European partner for a tender concerning exploration and exploitation rights to twenty offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete, whose deadline for offers expires on July 14, sources have noted an ELPE partnership with a non-European partner cannot be ruled out.

Company sources have not offered any further information. However they have have implied the result may surprise, leading to speculation as to whether a deal for a tender-linked partnership is being discussed with a Latin American company. ELPE has reportedly been involved in business talks with companies from the region in recent times.

ELPE is expected to confine its offers to just a number of the twenty offshore plots offered by the tender, locations in the Ionian Sea considered certain. Interest by the company in the plots south of Crete is seen as doubtful.

Authorities have noted that current data available for the hydrocarbon prospects south of Crete offer oil drilling endeavors a ten percent chance – at best – of success.

ELPE is one of three companies to have purchased results of seismic surveys conducted by Norwegian firm PGS for the offshore blocks included in the tender. Exxon Mobil and Total are the other two.

In other developments at ELPE, the company’s Exploration Manager Yannis Grigoriou told a recent Institute of Energy for Southeast Europe (IENE) event that the Greek oil company plans to begin conducting three-dimensional survey work in the Gulf of Patras, for which it holds exploration and exploitation rights, within 2015. It expects to begin drilling in the region in 2017, Grigoriou has noted.

Overall interest in the tender has remained subdued as a result of lower international crude prices, now at about 60 dollars a barrel, the prevailing negative conditions in Greece, and declarations, every now and then, by government officials for revisions to the country’s hydrocarbon corporate model, with greater state control in mind.

Although no revisions were eventually made to the current tender concerning the Ionian Sea and south of Crete, an energy-linked government official, just days ago, reiterated the government’s interest in establishing a state company for oil exploration and production.