Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) has decided to limit its presence in Greece’s upstream sector, driven by unfavorable market developments, sources have informed.
Spain’s Repsol recently also opted to surrender upstream rights in Greece.
ELPE intends to return to the Greek State its exploration and production licenses for two onshore blocks, Arta-Preveza and northwest Peloponnese, sources noted. The Greek petroleum company has deemed exploration activities in these specific areas as no longer being feasible, the sources added.
The company, in reaching its decision to withdraw from the Arta-Preveza and northwest Peloponnese blocks, also took into account negative reactions by local community groups as well as a series of bureaucratic obstacles, sources said.
The Greek State’s failure to deal with a lack of infrastructure at the port of Patras, close to these blocks in Greece’s west, is seen as a key factor in ELPE’s decision to withdraw from the Arta-Preveza and northwest Peloponnese blocks, despite promising seismic research results.
ELPE does not intend to surrender its interests in offshore blocks west and southwest of Crete. It is a co-member of consortiums with Total and ExxonMobil for these licenses.
The government is placing emphasis on renewable energy sources, foreign minister Nikos Dendias has just told Arab News.
Hellenic Petroleum ELPE’s plan to conduct seismic surveys at an onshore license in northwestern Greece’s Arta-Preveza area appears to have run into problems of disproportionate dimensions as a result of resistance by a small number of local residents and other objectors accustomed to opposing such initiatives.
Local authorities, mindful of upcoming municipal elections in May, are paying heed to the danger-mongering of these teams of people, resulting in serious issues for ELPE’s overall hydrocarbon exploration program.
ELPE had already provided local authorities with detailed information supporting the region and its residents would not be impacted in any way by the prospective seismic survey work.
Until recently, local officials, convinced by the ELPE presentation, were prepared to recommend that a license be granted to the petroleum company for its survey work. Instead, local councils of two municipalities in the wider region, Arta and Central Tzoumerka, refused to offer their consent.
As a result, ELPE’s seismic survey plan for Arta-Preveza now appears headed for a delay until after the elections, which will have a knock-on effect on the company’s next scheduled seismic survey, in northern Peloponnese.
Greece must not miss out on the opportunity of discovering major deposits and entering the global petroleum map, which would attract oil majors, industry officials have noted.