ELPE’s Gulf of Patras drilling delayed until ’21, red tape cited

Exploratory drilling by ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) at its Gulf of Patras license in western Greece will be delayed until 2021 instead of the first quarter of 2020, as was officially planned, or, late 2020, the unofficial target, primarily as a result of bureaucratic obstacles, according to updates offered by company officials at an EAGE (European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers) event just held in Athens.

The Gulf of Patras license was awarded to a consortium comprising ELPE and Edison through an open-door tender launched in 2012 and completed in 2014. Energean Oil and Gas is also involved as a result of its recent acquisition of Edison’s E&P.

The license area, situated between Kefalonia, Achaia and Etoloakarnania, measures 1,419 square kilometers.

Preliminary research work has been completed, identifying wider areas to be explored, including specific drilling spots.

The delay of a concession agreement for a port in the wider region, needed to facilitate drilling needs, has held back the venture.

ELPE has, so far, unsuccessfully sought concession agreements with four ports, Patras, Kyllini, Aigio and Astakos.

Any port that would accept heavy drilling equipment needs to have included such activities in its official operating plan. The detail has prompted bureaucratic issues for ELPE in its effort to secure a port facility.

The project is a high-cost venture as it will be performed in deep-sea territory. Preliminary estimates put the size of the prospective reserves at 140 million barrels.