Parliament ratifies exploration deals for western Greece

Exploration and exploitation contracts for three onshore and offshore locations along Greece’s western flank, in Ioannina, Katakolo, and the Gulf of Patras, were ratified by Parliament Thursday evening. The contracts were included in a bill covering a number of energy-sector issues.

Two Greek oil companies, Hellenic Petroleum, or ELPE, and Energean Oil & Gas, head three consortiums established for the exploration work to be carried out at the three locations. ELPE heads the consortium to pursue exploration work at the Gulf of Patras, while Energean heads the other two consortiums to work at the Ioannina and Katakolo locations.

Revisions to an older deal for hyrdrocarbon exploitation in the Thracian Sea were also approved along with these three contracts.

Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis described the evening’s Parliamentary session as historic as he read out the names of all twenty participants who took part in a commission that reviewed the contracts. Greece is seeking to reposition itself on the international energy map. The minister also noted that all procedures were carried in accordance with the requirements of Greek and EU law.

Most opposition parties voted against the ratification, the majority of these arguing that the exploration contracts were unfavorable for Greek interests.

The Energy Minister also called on Parliament’s political parties to pursue establishing new legislation that would ensure local communities received 25 percent of state revenues generated by both private and public sector activity.