Oil exploration set to start at three spots in western Greece

Greek Parliament’s committee on production and trade yesterday approved deals signed between winning bidders and the Energy Ministry for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation at three onshore and offshore locations along Greece’s western flank, in the Ioannina, Gulf of Patras, and Katakolo regions.

The consortiums will be able to begin conducting preliminary work for the three locations as soon as their respective deals receive full Parliamentary approval, which is expected to take place within the next few days.

Early forecasts estimate the oil reserves at all three locations to amount to 305 million barrels.

The three consortiums have committed themselves to investing 60 million euro each during their respective first-stage drilling procedures. Based on the agreements, these investments will then each reach 800 million euro if hydrocarbon discoveries are made.

A consortium comprised of local firm Energean Oil & Gas and Canadian-based oil and gas company Petra Petroleum was chosen for exploration and exploitation of an onshore site in Ioannina, northwestern Greece.

Hellenic Petroleum, or ELPE, along with Italy’s Edison, and Irish firm Petroceltic were selected to work an offshore location in the Gulf of Patras.

In yet another deal for Energean Oil & Gas, the Greek firm, joining forces with UK firm Trajan Oil, were chosen to explore a spot in Katakolo, western Peloponnese.

Once the deals have received full Parliamentary approval, the three consortiums will evaluate Greek-state seismic data for the areas they have been granted licenses to explore. This information will offer initial assistance but further detail will be needed.

The ELPE-Edison-Petroceltic consortium has already approached about ten firms active internationally in seismic research. One of these will be chosen to prepare detailed data. Seismic study results are expected in spring in 2015, while initial drilling is anticipated to take place in mid-2017, according to company officials. Depending on the results, the consortium expects to conduct between two and three drilling efforts in the Gulf of Patras, each at a cost of between 20 and 35 million euro.

As for the consortium involving Energean Oil & Gas and Petra Petroleum for exploration in the Ioannina region, its additional seismic research, to cover an area spanning some 300 kilometers, will take at least two years. At this stage, the consortium has excluded environmentally sensitive areas, such as the Vikos Gorge and Zagorohoria, a network of nearly 50 picturesque and well-preserved traditional villages in northwestern Greece, from the designated areas to be explored. Drilling procedures will not necessarily start at a location in the Kalpaki area that had been chosen as part of a previous effort back in 1999 by Enterprise Oil, company officials told EnergyPress.

Based on its agreement, the Energean Oil & Gas and Petra Petroleum consortium has committed itself to staging its first drilling effort within the next four years, with a follow-up effort within the ensuing six years. Should the exploratory work prove successful, production in the Ioannina area can be expected to begin following 2021, the company officials noted.

Production should come considerably sooner at the Katakolo site, in western Peloponnese, where a relatively small oil reserve was confirmed back in 1981. The consortium here, Energean Oil & Gas and Trajan Oil, plans to reevaluate existing data for the spot and begin producing in 2017.