Tsipras challenged to clarify MP’s oil tender-change claims

Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis has challenged main opposition party Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras to clarify whether remarks by an energy sector-linked MP of his claiming Greece’s current international tenders for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation will be cancelled and relaunched represent party policy or personal view.

Syriza MP, Apostolos Alexopoulos – head coordinator of the leftist party’s policies concerning energy, environment and climate change, and a professor of geology and geoenvironmental studies at the University of Athens – has just had an article of his been published in local press, through which he contends hydrocarbon tenders for three overland blocks in western Greece, as well as twenty offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea, western Greece, and south of Crete, will be stopped and relaunched to feature greater Greek State interests and control.

“Mr. Tsipras will need to clarify whether Mr. Alexopoulos is expressing Syriza’s official party policy or his personal views,” the Energy Minister noted. “If it is the former, he will need to offer explanations to the Greek people on the hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation program preached by his party; the country’s international isolation entailed by such a choice; its determent of investors to create new jobs in Greece; and, finally, the economic underdevelopment involved. If it is the latter, he will need to condemn his party member’s statements in the harshest way possible.”

Interestingly, the bidding deadline for a tender concerning the three overland blocks, in Arta, Preveza, and northwest Peloponnese, expires several days after this weekend’s snap elections in Greece.  The Syriza party is ahead in polls.

Maniatis stressed that, in recent years, hard work had been completed to put the country on the international energy map. “We have achieved all that had not been accomplished over decades, with daring and swift steps,” he remarked.

The Energy Minister noted that the government anticipates revenues of twelve billion euros from exploration and exploitation tender deals already completed for three other spots, in Ioannina, Katakolo, and the Gulf of Patras, all in western Greece. Investments planned by the tender winners for these locations are close to 700 million euros and will create some 3,000 new jobs, Maniatis pointed out.

The government has based its hydrocarbon tenders on models already applied by most European countries, Maniatis noted. Reiterating remarks he has made in parliament, the minister said Syriza’s proposal for hydrocarbon tenders was exclusively applied by African nations.