State control planned for ELPE hydrocarbon holding company

The Greek State will hold a majority 51 percent stake and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) 49 percent in a new hydrocarbon holding company to serve as an umbrella corporation for various firms, existing and future, with ELPE exploration and production rights in various areas, according to a government plan incorporated into ELPE’s ongoing privatization effort offering investors 50.1 percent of the petroleum firm.

The holding company is intended to hold minority interests in most of these firms, and majority stakes in ventures where, until now, ELPE has operated without partners, such as an Arta-Preveza onshore block and a Gulf of Kyparissia license.

The holding company plan currently includes five subsidiaries: ELPE Arta-Preveza (ELPE 100%); ELPE Kyparissia Gulf (ELPE 100%); Gulf of Patras (ELPE 50%, as the operator, and Edison 50%); Ionian Sea Block 2 (Total 50%, as the operator, ELPE 25% and Edison 25%); Crete (Total 40%, as the operator, ExxonMobil 40% and ELPE 20%).

Work on the prospective holding firm’s statute is nearing completion, according to energypress sources. However, an energy ministry draft bill to establish the Greek State as the majority stakeholder of the new holding company and carve out a 49 percent share for ELPE’s prospective buyer remains pending.

Binding offers for the ELPE sale are now expected to be deferred until January.

Over the past few weeks, the energy ministry has been holding talks with Paneuropean, offering 30.47 percent of 45.47 percent held in ELPE, as well as ELPE’s two contenders, Glencore and Vitol, in search for a new arrangement that would increase the Greek State’s control of the new holding company from 25 percent to no less than a 51 percent majority. The Greek State is offering 20.5 of its 35.5 percent stake in ELPE.