DEPA Commercial turnover down 47.8% due to pandemic

Gas company DEPA Commercial has forecast an increase in natural gas volume-based sales of over 20 percent in 2021 following a pandemic-induced total turnover reduction of 47.8 percent last year, down to 396.5 million euros from approximately 760 million euros in 2019.

As a result, DEPA Commercial’s profit after tax in 2020 fell to 37.5 million euros from 67.9 million euros in the previous year.

Despite the reduction, DEPA Commercial offered shareholders – privatization fund TAIPED (65%) and Hellenic Petroleum ELPE (35%) – dividends totaling 6.6 million euros.

The company attributed its turnover drop to international market conditions shaped by the pandemic during the first half of 2020, which suppressed prices at international hubs, creating purchasing opportunities at spot markets, before price levels partially rebounded.

These conditions conduced opportunistic gas orders by major-scale consumers in Greece, who have usually covered a great part of their natural gas needs through DEPA, based on long-term supply contracts, the company explained.

In terms of volume, DEPA’s gas sales in 2020 totaled 25.5 TWh, down 6.7 percent compared to 2019, primarily as a result of the aforementioned factors.

Authorities on alert, heatwave leads to record price levels

The country’s latest prolonged heatwave conditions have made huge impact on the energy market, driving up today’s wholesale electricity average price to 136 euros per MWh and the price of natural gas to a 16-year high, once again testing the grid’s limits, as well as those of suppliers and their household and business customers.

Today’s wholesale price ascent to 136 euros per MWh adds to the steady rise of recent days, which began the week at 93 euros per MWh on Monday, following an average level of 75 euros per MWh last week. The increase represents an 83 percent wholesale electricity price increase in a week.

Continual use of air condition systems over the next few days of extreme hot weather, that has been forecast, is expected to further increase electricity demand and price levels, placing on high alert market players and officials, from the operators to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the energy ministry, power utility PPC and independent energy producers.

Despite the increased pressure, grid sufficiency, for the time being, appears to be under control. No power station damages have been reported, while PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, nowadays representing a high-cost option, along with big RES units, have been mobilized, creating safe conditions for the challenging evening hours, from 7pm until midnight.

At present, supply is exceeding demand, typically reaching levels of approximately 9.5 GW in recent days, all hot.

 

 

DEPA Infrastructure bidder legal files opened ahead of offers

Privatization fund TAIPED has opened first-stage files carrying legal documents submitted by two bidders, Italy’s gas network operator Italgas and the Czech Republic’s EP INVESTMENT ADVISORS, for the 100 percent sale of gas company DEPA Infrastructure.

This is the first step before the financial offers submitted by the two bidders are opened.

TAIPED officials are now examining the legal documents in case any clarification is needed before the sale’s procedure advances to the second and final stage, when the financial offers are opened, probably towards the end of August or early September.

The possibility of the bidders being asked to improve their offers has not been ruled out.

 

Robust results at EDA THESS for first half of 2021

The Board of Directors of EDA THESS approved the results of the first half of 2021.

In particular, natural gas penetration continued in the first half of 2021, exceeding 64% of the population in the Licensed areas, as a dynamic growth of the market was recorded with the signing of 9,970 new connection contracts, increased by 20.2% compared to the corresponding period of 2020. The increase in the natural gas distributed volumes was significant, as it amounted to 313.2 million Nm3, increased by 12.7% compared to the first half of 2020, driven by the expansion of the consumer base and the connection of large consumers and energy-intensive industries.

The Company’s rapid growth rates are the result of its targeted development planning based on the continuous optimization of the provided services to end consumers and distribution users as well as the rapid decline of the network usage tariffs, which for 2021 reached 21% in domestic use and 56% in industrial offering multiple economic advantages to consumers. Equally important were the environmental benefits from the use of natural gas in the areas of the License, as only for the first half of 2021 more than 365.5 thousand tons of carbon dioxide and more than 2.1 thousand tons of sulfur dioxide were saved. The increasing penetration of natural gas in a transitional period for the national economy, energy and the environment, plays a decisive role in the effort for the recovery and achievement of the State’s environmental objectives.

The Company continues the implementation of its investment planning, respecting the legal, regulatory framework and the decisions of the Authority, with consistent and thorough implementation of an integrated strategy based on the efficient management of the available resources. During the first semester of the year, EDA THESS observed the approved Development Program, constructing high standard networks, based on safety and technical integrity. At the same time, the Company achieved the streamlining of costs, always in accordance with the approved expenses by RAE without burdening the distribution tariff for the end consumers. The operational preparedness of EDA THESS, which guarantees the safe and uninterrupted operation of the distribution network has also been maintained at a high level.

The investments of the first semester of the year were implemented according to the annual planning, exceeding € 14.5 million, increased by 15.7% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, while by the end of the year, the full implementation of the investment program is expected. The Company continues to invest in the development of modern natural gas infrastructure and innovative technologies, while supporting the ongoing process towards its digital transformation. A process inextricably linked to the energy transition, as in addition to increasing efficiency, the digitization – automation of operations and the flexibility of gas infrastructure and network will enable the future integration of renewable gases. Thus, the crucial role of distribution networks is emerging, paving the way for the decarbonization of the final energy mix while contributing to the achievement of national and European Energy and Climate Sustainability goals.

The strong performance of EDA THESS is also reflected in its financial results, as the Company’s total revenue amounted to € 36.8 million, exceeding the budget by 7.9% while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the first half of the year reached € 26.6 million, showing an increase of 14.3% compared to the budget. Finally, the Company’s earnings after taxes amounted to € 13.8 million, increased by 21.9% in comparison with the budget levels.

Concluding the Meeting, the convening of the Ordinary General Assembly Meeting for the approval of distribution of dividends for the fiscal year 2020 to the shareholders was scheduled.

EDA THESS chief: ‘Access to natural gas even in the most remote areas’

Interview of Leonidas Bakouras on energypress: Access to natural gas even in the most remote areas – CNG technology and the “model” of EDA THESS

The General Manager of the company, Leonidas Bakouras, talks to energypress about the ways through which EDA THESS managed to achieve a penetration rate of 64% in its Licensed Areas.

In this context he explains how the compressed natural gas (CNG) technology was utilized, emphasizes on the technoeconomic criteria for the development of  EDA THESS’ distribution network and virtual pipelines and highlights the formation of attractive distribution tariffs to the consumers.

Mr. Bakouras, EDA THESS is the Distribution Company that has achieved a very high penetration ratio of natural gas – amounting to 64% of the population in its License Areas -, providing access to low – cost and environmentally-friendly form of energy even in the most remote areas. How did you manage to do that?

The Company’s strategy from its establishment until today, has as its primary goal the further penetration of natural gas in the areas of the License in the safest and most cost-effective way. For several years, numerous requests for connection with the distribution network and  supply of consumers in areas far from the active network have been submitted.

EDA THESS, as a pioneer in the introduction of innovative technologies and actions, took the initiative to develop the Virtual Pipeline utilizing CNG technology in Greece and supplied the remote – off – grid – areas with natural gas where it is difficult to construct a natural gas pipeline for technical and financial reasons.

The Virtual Pipeline, is not only a continuation of the physical network – in the context of the willingness and goal of the distribution network operator to undertake every effort to achieve maximum natural gas penetration – but also decisively contributes to meeting the needs of more and more consumers, protecting the environment, achieving energy efficiency and promoting the overall fulfillment of National and Community objectives.

We have installed the first CNG stations in the country already since 2018 Today there are 15 CNG stations and they are model stations in terms of innovation and installation according to the highest safety standards.

This development was considered particularly important for the Greek province as it took remote areas out of the energy isolation and boosted the further penetration of natural gas, covering an increasing range of areas in Thessaloniki and Thessaly.

At the same time, in areas connected to the active natural gas network, the rapid but well-considered development and expansion of the distribution network, increases the connections of new consumers, and at the same time creates the conditions for further reductions in the distribution tariffs.

Thus, within 20 years we managed to achieve a penetration rate of 64% in the population of the Licensed Areas, while in other European countries it took 25 years to reach 50%.

Was it difficult to introduce a technology unprecedented for the Greek standards? What were the most important challenges you were called up to manage and overcome through such a daring endeavor?

The big challenge for EDA THESS was to increase the penetration of natural gas, especially in areas with increased geographical dispersion and a large distance both between them and the existing distribution network.

It is important to mention that at the time when the Company introduced the technology of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the Greek market, there was a complete absence of regulatory – legislative framework, technical regulations and a developed business sector.

Utilizing our many years of experience and our know – how, we have highly contributed to the development of the regulatory framework and the technical regulations that govern the distribution activity in our country.

In addition, the issues that could arise from the geographical dispersion of the Licensed areas were not an obstacle, on the contrary, it was a challenge that we managed to successfully overcome.

Therefore, what was the Company’s contribution in shaping the legal and regulatory framework and the technical regulation in order to supply the remote areas through the Virtual Pipeline?

As the use of CNG technology was unknown to the Greek market, and given the lack of regulatory and legislative framework, EDA THESS in cooperation with the competent authorities made the greatest contribution to the institutional and technical processes in order to develop the Natural Gas market.

In order to launch the procedures for the preparation of the regulatory framework, EDA THESS participated in the Committee set up by the Ministry of Energy in the context of issuing the Technical Regulation, at all stages from drafting to its issuance in May 2018.

The Technical Regulation sets out the requirements for the design, construction, testing, activation, operation, maintenance, and fire protection of the decompression stations of compressed natural gas (CNG), to ensure the supply of distribution networks as well as individual final consumers.

Furthermore, the issuance of the regulatory framework in August 2018 by the Regulatory Authority for Energy was crucial for the development of remote networks through a virtual pipeline, and EDA THESS contributed to the procedure by submitting its proposals to the Authority.

What are the key factors that are taken into consideration when developing the distribution network of EDA THESS?

The Distribution Network of EDA THESS, is developed based on technical and economic criteria taking into account the following parameters:

Factors that shape the demand and capacity of the area, such as:

  • applications, number of apartments, consumption
  • population
  • number of Municipal – Public buildings
  • commercial & industrial consumers

Technical criteria:

  • technical feasibility of construction
  • project safety
  • technical characteristics (materials, routing, soil morphology)

Capacity management criteria:

  • Distribution Network pressure design
  • diameter of the Distribution Network pipeline

During the planning of all the network development projects, the Company assesses  the impact of the implementation of each new project on the Average Charge of Use of the distribution network in accordance with the Tariff Regulation. In plain words, the economic effectiveness of a development project is evaluated. The economic effectiveness of a new project depends on the projected demand of natural gas, which is calculated as a function of the number of projected network connections as well as the natural gas volumes that these connections are expected to consume – in comparison with the construction cost of the project.

How are the distribution tariffs established? Is there a difference for the consumers of the Remote Networks (supplied through Virtual Pipeline) and those of the interconnected areas?

As I mentioned above, the investments implemented by EDA THESS for the development of the network, are implemented based on the economic effectiveness.

Ensuring the existence of new connections and respectively the increase in the distributed volumes of natural gas in the areas where it expands its Network, EDA THESS manages not only to prevent any increase in the distribution tariff but to achieve significant reductions, such as those noted for the year 2021.

As the construction of a distribution network presupposes economic sustainability and efficiency, if the above conditions for the interconnection of areas with a natural pipeline are not met, the development of Virtual Pipelines is able, under certain conditions, to cover the supply for a transitional period in a specific area, until the final expansion of the gas network.

In other words, the Virtual Pipeline replaces the natural gas network in cases where the expansion of the last would disproportionately burden the network usage tariff, due to the initially low distributed quantities of natural gas, compared to the cost of the investment.

The cost-benefit analysis for the supply of these areas must take into account the same technical and economic criteria and the return on investment and ensure reasonable distribution tariffs.

The operating expenses of the Virtual Pipeline service is part of the Required Revenue  of the Basic Distribution Activity of the respective Distribution Network according to the Tariff Regulation, and by this way all the Final Consumers of the Distribution Network are charged with the same tariff. There is no difference between Consumers supplied by Remote Distribution Networks and those on the existing network. 

What are the criteria set by EDA THESS for the development of the Virtual Pipeline?

EDA THESS, in order to include new areas in the Development Programs that it implements with the construction of a Remote Distribution Network, conducts a cost-benefit analysis that reflects:

  • The projected consumption (number of connections per final customer category and Natural Gas volumes).
  • The estimated cost of the Remote Distribution Network construction.
  • The way of supplying the Remote Natural Gas Distribution Network.
  • The estimated cost of connecting the Remote Distribution Network to an existing Transmission System or Distribution Network, if it is about to be connected through a pipeline in case it is technically possible.
  • The evaluation results of the criterion of article 12 of the Tariff Regulation, and specifically the impact on the Average Distribution Charge: a) in case of the construction as a Remote Network and b) in case of its connection to a pipeline.

In light of the above, the investments for further development of the network are implemented based on technical criteria regarding the possibility of construction, quality and safety of the project and according to economic criteria based on the demand and capacity of each area, in order to ensure the efficiency and economic effectiveness of investments.

What are the benefits of using compressed natural gas (CNG)?

It is understood that, without the use of compressed natural gas, the residents of remote areas would not have access to natural gas and let alone with the same distribution tariff. In terms of the use of natural gas-the dominant fuel for the post-lignite era – consumers are reducing their environmental footprint and at the same time take advantage of  economic benefits from reducing the energy cost.

At the same time, CNG technology catalytically contributes to the safe and uninterrupted distribution of natural gas, which for EDA THESS is a priority of its business operation.

Therefore, the use of compressed natural gas technology safeguards the uninterrupted distribution of natural gas. Please tell us in plain words how this is done, so that everybody understands

The Company leverages the compressed natural gas technology in cases of planned or emergency needs for the supply of Natural Gas. This is achieved through portable storage units and portable Decompression Stations, in order to ensure the uninterrupted distribution of natural gas to distribution networks or installations, which under normal conditions are supplied though pipelines.

It is worth noting that we carry out preparedness drills every year to evaluate the completeness of emergency and crisis management plans.

In 2021, the transitional framework for the development of Remote Distribution Networks using Compressed / Liquefied Natural Gas expires. As far as I know, Mr. Bakouras, RAE is investigating the feasibility of establishing a new framework that will govern the development – on a national basis – of Remote Distribution Networks, supplied with CNG or LNG Virtual Pipeline, similarly to what happens with public service obligations.  What is the position of the Company and what are the conditions in order to continue the supply of existing and new areas in this way?

Indeed, the current regulatory framework for remote distribution networks, according to dec. RAE 643/2018, is in force until the end of 2021.

EDA THESS is waiting to be informed from the Regulatory Authority for Energy regarding possible changes in the framework for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and it will participate in the relevant consultation, so as in cooperation with the Authority, to formulate the updated framework for the supply of the remote areas.

Specifically, for liquefied natural gas, the Company participates in the Technical Committee set up by the Ministry of Environment and Energy for the establishment of the Technical Regulation, while it has internally set up a working group to participate in the drafting of both relevant technical and regulatory framework, while at the same time, utilizing its know-how and in collaboration with foreign operators, who have extensive experience in liquified natural gas issues, it will examine the potential of pilot application in a remote distribution network in the areas of EDA THESS.

Energy exchange’s gas market trading details forwarded for public consultation

The Hellenic Energy Exchange has forwarded for public consultation a list of proposals it has submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, concerning natural gas market details ahead of the prospective energy exchange trading of gas products.

Matters addressed include the procedure to be applied to determine energy exchange  participation rights, charges and commissions for gas product transactions, professional competence requirements as well as product specification rules.

According to one proposal, an annual subscription fee of 7,000 euros will be set for participants.

Also, daily commission fees of 0.005 per MWh for gas products traded in the day-ahead and intraday markets has been proposed.

The energy exchange’s public consultation procedure is planned to end August 31.

Italgas, Czech Republic’s EPH bid for DEPA Infrastructure

Italy’s gas network operator Italgas and the Czech Republic’s EP INVESTMENT ADVISORS (EPH) met yesterday’s deadline to submit binding bids for the 100 percent sale of gas company DEPA Infrastructure, bringing this privatization to its final stretch.

TAIPED, Greece’s privatization fund, will now need to check if the files submitted by the suitors are complete before opening up their respective financial offers.

The privatization fund’s board will inspect the first-stage files, carrying legal documents, at its next meeting, sources informed. If the files are complete, TAIPED will proceed to the next step of opening up the financial offers, but not before some time has elapsed to allow for possible objections.

If the price difference in the financial offers is no more than 15 percent, TAIPED will request improved follow-up bids from both bidders.

The preferred bidder is expected to be announced by the end of August or early September. DG Comp and DG Energy approval will then be required before an agreement can be signed for the transfer, to the winning bidder, of TAIPED’s 65 percent stake control of DEPA Infrastructure and the 35 percent stake held by Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE).

The sale of DEPA Infrastructure, controlling the distribution networks of EDA Attiki, covering the wider Athens area, EDA Thess, covering Thessaloniki and Thessaly, as well as DEDA, covering the rest of Greece, will spell the end of the Greek State’s control of the country’s low and medium-pressure natural gas pipelines.

EDA THESS: The role of natural gas distribution networks in accelerating de-carbonization

EDA THESS’ development strategy relies on investments in advanced infrastructure and natural gas technologies that render distribution networks  crucial for decarbonization.

The transition to cleaner forms of energy lies at the heart of developments and natural gas is the bridging fuel for electricity generation covering both base load in the short run and peak loads in the long run and filling the power gap created by the rapid withdrawal of carbon and the accelerated introduction of RES.

At the same time and in line with National and European targets, new requirements are emerging to further support and integrate RES into a new, integrated and sustainable energy model to tackle climate change. Gas distribution networks can optimally support the dispersed production and injection of renewable gases (hydrogen and biomethane), directly contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of the final mixture. At the same time, with the integration and utilization of renewable gases as alternative energy carriers, mitigation of voltage fluctuations in the electricity network is achieved and flexibility is provided through the conversion, storage and reuse of energy.

In light of the above, the General Manager of EDA THESS, Mr. Bakouras highlights the correlation that has been developed between gas and electricity sectors which will be further strengthened in the future by the implementation of methanation and Power-to- Gas technologies. In the same context, he stressed that in order to achieve climate neutrality, all forms of “green” energy should be supported and all available infrastructure should be fully utilized. To this end, the coordinated actions of all stakeholders in the energy sector are required to establish a greener, decentralized and digitized energy network.

EDA THESS, heading towards energy transformation, continues to implement large investments for the construction of sustainable infrastructure aiming to increase the penetration of natural gas. At the same time, it invests in technological innovations and the digitalization of the distribution networks that will enable the integration and distribution of increasing quantities of renewable gases in the future. The Company’s investment strategy focuses on best business practices aligned with environmental responsibility. EDA THESS is fully in line with the goals set by the State, in the framework of the national policy for Energy and Climate.

With the implementation of the Development Plan 2021 – 2025 amounting to 155.6 € million and the further penetration of natural gas, EDA THESS is expected to significantly contribute to the improvement of the quality of the environment, as in 2025 the distribution of natural gas is expected to reach ~ 580 million Nm3 in the areas of the License and respectively, the reduction of the environmental footprint from the use of natural gas for the period 2021 – 2025 is estimated at:

– 3.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide

– 19.2 thousand tons of sulfur dioxide

– 7.2 thousand tons of nitric oxide

With a view to the future, EDA THESS, being a member of the pan-European sustainability association GD4S along with the Union’s leading distribution companies, contributes in:

  • Developing policies for the sustainability of Distribution Networks and securing the financing of future investments in natural gas infrastructure
  • Shaping of the legislative and regulatory framework for the integration of renewable gases (biomethane, hydrogen) in the Distribution Networks
  • Sharing best sustainability practices among European Operators
  • Planning of sustainable green investments

The future of the natural gas market and the strategic importance of energy infrastructure, according to the General Manager, leave a lot of room for the development of the sector that will lead to the completion of a fair energy transition.

(The article is included in the volume GREEK ENERGY 2021 published for the 10th consecutive year by the staff of Energypress)

 

 

 

 

DEPA Infrastructure sale now a showdown for two, Italgas, EPH

With the deadline for binding bids in the 100 percent sale of gas company DEPA Infrastructure expiring tomorrow, a latest update from sources indicates that two suitors will submit offers, Italy’s gas network operator Italgas and the Czech Republic’s EP INVESTMENT ADVISORS (EPH). An additional bid by a third participant has not been ruled out.

Besides Italgas and EPH, four other bidders have qualified for the privatization’s final round, these being two Australian funds, FIRST STATE INVESTMENTS (European Diversified Infrastructure Fund II) and MACQUARIE (MEIF 6 DI HOLDINGS), international fund KKR and Chinese consortium SINO-CEE FUND & SHANGHAI DAZHONG PUBLIC UTILITIES (GROUP) Co., Ltd.

The Greek State is selling its 65 percent stake in DEPA Infrastructure, through the privatization fund TAIPED, and Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) the other 35 percent.

Italgas’ chief executive Paolo Gallo, in an interview with Greek daily Ta Nea, has stated the company will be submitting a binding offer for the DEPA Infrastructure sale.

Italgas is Italy’s biggest natural gas distributor, holding a 34 percent market share, and also ranks as Europe’s third biggest network operator. Italgas operates 70,000 kilometers of networks serving over 1,800 municipalities.

Rival bidder EPH is a formidable energy group with vertically integrated investments in central Europe. It owns and utilizes assets in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Italy, the UK, France, Hungary and Poland, covering a range of domains such as energy and heat production, natural gas transmission and storage, as well as distribution and supply of natural gas, heating and electricity.

DEPA Infrastructure controls gas distributors EDA Attiki and EDA THESS, both with 51 percent stakes, as well as DEDA.

DESFA considering 2 options for gas transportation to Epirus

Gas grid operator DESFA is examining two alternative solutions for the transportation of natural gas to Greece’s northwestern region of Epirus, one of the company’s most important projects of its ten-year development plan covering 2022 to 2031, still not finalized.

One option being considered by DESFA is an extension of a gas pipeline in west Macedonia, northern Greece, from Ptolemaida all the way to Ioannina, the Epirus prefecture’s capital.

The other solution being considered entails the development of an LNG terminal at Igoumenitsa port, from where a 50-km gas pipeline would be constructed into the Epirus region.

The options will undergo public consultation for comments and observations by market players before RAE, in conjunction with DESFA, decides which of the two will be implemented.

DESFA aims to finalize its ten-year development plan covering 2022 to 2031 within the summer before delivering it to RAE in September.

Energy exchange gas platform to be presented Monday

The energy exchange is nearing an expansion through the addition of a new trading platform for natural gas market products, scheduled to be presented by the Hellenic Energy Exchange and gas grid operator DESFA this coming Monday.

Related public consultation, already in progress, is planned to run until the end of August.

Until now, the Greek energy exchange has only facilitated electricity market trade.

The energy exchange, in association with DESFA, has been working on the new gas market platform since last year, the aim being to launch it within 2021.

The exchange’s new gas platform is expected to help establish Greece as a trading hub of geostrategic and geopolitical significance.

Energean signs contract with Stena for drilling effort, offshore Israel

Energean plc has announced that its 100% subsidiary, Energean Israel Limited, has signed a contract with Stena Drilling Limited for its 2022 – 2023 growth drilling programme offshore Israel, which is expected to target the derisking of unrisked prospective recoverable resources of over 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (“boe“).

The contract is for the drilling of three firm wells and two optional wells, with the first firm well expected to spud in 1Q 2022. The firm wells are all expected to be drilled during 2022, and consist of:

  • The Karish North development well, a key part of the Karish North development. The scope includes re-entry, sidetracking and completion of the previously drilled Karish North well and completion as a producer. The Karish North development will commercialise 33 Bcm (1.2 Tcf) of gas plus 31 mmbbls of liquids 2P reserves (a total of 243 mmboe) and is expected to deliver first gas in 2H 2023.
  • The Karish Main-04 appraisal well, which is expected to target further prospective volumes within the Karish Main Block, including the potential oil rim that was identified as part of the KM-03 development well drilling. Total unrisked recoverable volumes estimated to be targeted by the well are 166 mmboe.
  • The Athena exploration well, located in Block 12, is situated directly between the Karish and Tanin leases. Athena is estimated to contain unrisked recoverable prospective resource volumes of 20 Bcm (0.7 Tcf) of gas plus 4 mmbbls of liquids; of which the primary target is estimated to contain unrisked recoverable prospective resource volumes of 10 Bcm (0.4 Tcf) of gas plus 2 mmbbls of liquids 1 with a 70% geological chance of success. Success at Athena would be expected to significantly de-risk approximately 90 Bcm (2.5 Tcf) plus 19 mmbbls of remaining unrisked recoverable prospective resource volumes located within Block 12 and Tanin.

Two factors support the commercialisation of a Block 12 discovery. Firstly, Block 12 was a new licence award to Energean Israel Limited in 2018; produced volumes will therefore generate no royalty payments in respect of Energean Israel Limited’s original acquisition of the block. Secondly, the more proximate location of the potential development to the expected location of the Energean Power FPSO is also expected to reduce like-for-like development costs when compared with Tanin.

The drilling campaign will be undertaken using the Stena Icemax drillship, a state-of-the-art ice-class harsh environment dual-activity dynamically positioned drillship, capable of drilling in water depths of up to 10,000 ft.

Mathios Rigas, Chief Executive Officer of Energean, commented:

“We are delighted to be working with Stena again; and this five-well programme follows the three-well development drilling programme and 243 mmboe Karish North discovery, all successfully executed with Stena over 2019 and 2020.

Our five-well growth programme offshore Israel, commencing 1Q 2022, has the potential to double Energean plc’s reserve base with resource volumes that can be quickly, economically and safely monetized. Combined with first gas from our flagship Karish gas development project in mid-2022, the next 12-months are set to be truly transformational for Energean.”

 

EDA THESS and DESFA: Ambitious cooperation with a lot of perspectives

The fruitful cooperation between the National Transmission System Operator and the Distribution Company was the main topic raised in the meeting held at the Company’s premises between the CEO of DESFA, Mrs Maria Rita Galli and the General Manager of EDA THESS, Mr. Leonidas Bakouras.

During the meeting, Mr. Bakouras had the opportunity to stress one of the main strategic pillars of the company that is to ensure the safe and uninterrupted distribution of natural gas.

The CEO of DESFA and the General Manager of EDA THESS discussed about the issues that concern the operation and maintenance of transmission and distribution networks.

The focal point of the meeting was the emerging opportunities and perspectives for further collaboration between the two operators. The great potential to enable the integration of renewable gases such us biomethane blending with natural gas was highlighted. The ultimate goal to ensure security of supply was shared, with the aim of continuously improving the services provided to the users and end consumers.

Moreover, the need for further cooperation in the conduction of preparedness drills, was discussed, by combining scenarios with high level escalation of events that could lead in general crisis in the network. The aim is to enhance the safety-oriented effectiveness of the response mechanism for the involved structures of the two operators and to promote the coordination with the Authorities and co-competent bodies.

Concluding, promoting the sustainability of natural gas networks in alignment with the targets set by the energy roadmap 2030- 50 is a common view.

(photo: The CEO of DESFA, Mrs. Maria Rita Galli with the General Manager of EDA THESS Mr. Leonidas Bakouras) 

 

 

Gas, CO2 costs, up over 50%, increasing electricity prices

The pandemic’s gradual remission and tougher climate-change policies have ushered in a period of elevated electricity price levels, both in Greece and internationally, expected to be prolonged, according to many analysts.

Suppliers, one after another, are increasing prices for household and business consumption, passing on to consumers additional costs encountered in the wholesale market through the activation of price-related clauses.

According to Greek energy exchange data, day-ahead market prices currently range between 78 and 80 euros per MWh, nearly double the level of 45 euros per MWh at the beginning of the year.

Similar price increases of about 50 percent have also been recorded in markets abroad during the first half of the year.

Electricity producers operating natural-gas fueled power stations have been impacted by higher gas prices, data provided by the Dutch trading platform TTF has highlighted.

Electricity producers also face considerably higher CO2 emission right prices, currently ranging between 52 and 55 euros per ton from 32 to 34 euros per MWh early this year.

According to many analysts, CO2 emission right prices will continue rising in the years to come and may have doubled by 2030.

Higher natural gas and CO2 emission right prices are impacting electricity producers generating through natural gas-fired power stations. They are required to pay for CO2 emission rights, one-third of levels imposed on lignite-based producers.

Experts agree that toughening EU climate-change measures, to be followed by corresponding US polices, will keep driving energy commodities higher, noting that oil and gas price rises will be subdued as low-cost, cleaner forms of energy further penetrate markets.

 

New gas project support to end, aid until 2029 for conversions

EU funding support for new natural gas and oil-related projects is expected to end soon, but will remain available over a transition period until December 31, 2029 for natural gas projects and gas transportation and storage infrastructure conversions catering to hydrogen, natural gas and biomethane needs before ultimately serving as hydrogen transportation and storage facilities, exclusively.

The council of EU energy ministers accepted Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) regulation revisions incorporating these funding support changes at a meeting in Luxembourg.

The revisions, designed to help the EU achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, are planned to be implemented in 2022, if ratified.

The revisions also include measures designed to offer sustained protection for market competition and energy supply security.

The proposed revisions identify 11 priority energy corridors and three thematic priority areas for projects of common interest funded through the Connecting Europe Facility (2021-2027).

Electricity demand up 7.5% in April, PPC market share steady

Electricity demand registered a sharp 7.5 percent rise in April, compared to the equivalent month a year earlier, driven by the government’s recent decision to ease lockdown measures, power grid operator IPTO’s latest monthly report has shown.

The relaxation of lockdown measures in Greece prompted a milder 1.5 percent increase in electricity demand in March, year-on-year.

On the contrary, electricity demand fell by 2.5 percent over the four-month period covering January to April, compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, according to the IPTO report.

This decline in electricity demand was approximately half the 5.1 percent drop, year-on-year, for the three-month period between January and March.

Electricity generation rose by 24.6 percent in April, compared to the same month a year earlier, according to the IPTO report.

Natural gas-fired power stations led the way, boosting their production by 52.4 percent, followed by lignite-fired power stations, whose output rose by 21.8 percent, RES units, increasing their generation by 5.8 percent and hydropower stations, which registered a 3.1 percent increase.

In terms of energy-mix shares, the pivotal role of natural gas-fired generation was once again made clear. It captured a 43 percent share of the energy mix in April, followed by the RES sector, capturing 36 percent, lignite with 11 percent, hydropower with 6 percent and electricity imports at 5 percent.

Power utility PPC’s share of electricity demand remained virtually unchanged for a third successive month in April, registering 65 percent, following a 64.8 percent share in March and 65.1 percent share in February.

Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, the frontrunner among the independent suppliers, was the only company to increase its market share in April. It rose to 8.2 percent share from 7.95 percent a month earlier.

Heron’s share was steady at 6.3 percent from 6.29 percent in March. Elpedison’s share experienced a mild drop to 4.72 percent from 4.88 percent. NRG’s share in April was unchanged at 3.99 percent, while Watt & Volt’s share slipped marginally to 2.44 percent from 2.58 percent.

DESFA participating in talks for European Hydrogen Backbone

Greek gas grid operator DESFA is one of the participants in early talks for the establishment of a European Hydrogen Backbone, along with 22 fellow operators representing a total of 21 countries.

A latest report, published last month, notes that this network of pipelines can cover a total of 11,600 kilometers by 2030, to service emerging hydrogen markets, and 39,700 kilometers by 2040, with prospects for further expansion beyond this date.

Total investments estimated between 43 and 81 billion euros will be needed to develop the 39,700 kilometers of the hydrogen network pipelines.

Upgrades of existing pipeline networks, to enable the transportation of hydrogen, will account for 69 percent of the investment cost, while the other 31 percent concerns the development of new pipelines.

According to the plan, Greece’s two main industrial hubs, Athens and Thessaloniki, will be linked, by 2040, to the new hydrogen pipelines, to run alongside existing gas infrastructure. Alternatively, an upgrade of the existing gas pipelines, also seen as an option, will depend on market conditions.

DEPA Infrastructure bids July 16, Commercial sale delayed

Privatization fund TAIPED has set a July 16 deadline for binding bids concerning the sale of a 65 percent stake in gas company DEPA Infrastructure.

This sale represents Greece’s only energy-sector privatization proceeding as planned, based on the fund’s updated Asset Development Plan.

A total of six bidding formations have qualified for the privatization’s second round. They are: EP INVESTMENT ADVISORS; FIRST STATE INVESTMENTS (European Diversified Infrastructure Fund II); ITALGAS SpA; KKR (KKR Global Infrastructure Investors III L.P.); MACQUARIE (MEIF 6 DI HOLDINGS); SINO-CEE FUND & SHANGHAI DAZHONG PUBLIC UTILITIES (GROUP) Co., Ltd.

On the contrary, TAIPED has decided to delay bids for the sale of gas supplier DEPA Commercial until the third quarter of this year as a result of the company’s ongoing legal dispute with ELFE (Hellenic Fertilizers and Chemicals).

DEPA Commercial has challenged an Athens Court of First Instance verdict that ordered the company to return 61 million euros to ELFE for alleged overcharging between 2010 and 2015. The appeal has been deferred for September and may be jointly heard with a separate case involving the two companies over a similar amount of unpaid receivables that is allegedly owed by the fertilizer and chemicals producer to DEPA.

The DEPA Commercial sale, offering the Greek State’s 65 percent stake of the company, has attracted all the country’s major energy players as well as foreign companies.

Seven bidders are participating: C.G. GAS LIMITED (Copelouzos group); MET HOLDING AG; SHELL GAS B.V.; GEK TERNA; ELPE & EDISON INTERNATIONAL HOLDING N.V.; Motor Oil Hellas & PPC; and Mytilineos.

Wholesale electricity price ascent a major concern for industry

Wholesale electricity market prices have made further increases in recent times, driven by rising carbon emission right prices, which have exceeded 50 euros per ton.

Over the past few days, not including Sunday, the wholesale market’s day-ahead price rose well above 60 euros per MWh on energy exchange, reaching as high as over 72 euros per MWh last Thursday.

Besides the impact of increased carbon emission right prices, the energy market is also being pressured by higher gas prices, driven by greater usage of natural gas-fueled power stations being anticipated.

Natural gas prices have risen from 16 to 23 euros per MWh over the past few days.

This increase in wholesale electricity prices is directly impacting the retail electricity market, energy-intensive industrial consumers, both in the medium and high-voltage categories, already feeling the effects.

Given the energy market’s current uncertainty, suppliers are limiting the duration of contracts offered to three months.

The industrial sector is voicing concern about ambiguity ahead and rising energy costs that threaten to severely undermine the competitiveness of producers.

The activation, by suppliers, of carbon emission cost clauses included in agreements have increased industrial electricity prices by as much as 20 euros per MWh in recent times.

Though the industrial sector is compensated for this additional cost, compensation calculations are based on the previous year’s price levels, meaning industrial enterprises will end up covering a large percentage of the recent electricity cost increase.

Based on latest calculations, industrial enterprises will be compensated just 9 euros per MWh for the recent 20 euro per MWh hike.

Legislative revisions to unblock DEPA Infrastructure sale

The energy ministry is planning to soon submit to Parliament legislative revisions designed to resolve pending issues that have held back the final stage of a privatization concerning gas company DEPA Infrastructure, sources have informed. The ministry will aim for the submission of binding offers by July.

Issues that have held back the sale, offering suitors 100 percent of DEPA Infrastructure, include a pending unification of the asset base of DEPA Infrastructure’s trio of EDA gas distribution subsidiaries and the establishment of a sale procedure for Eni Gas e Luce’s 49 percent stake in EDA THESS.

DEPA Infrastructure, EDA THESS’s parent company, holds a 51 percent stake in the gas distributor covering the Thessaloniki and Thessaly areas, while Italy’s Eni gas e Luce, maintaining the management rights with its 49 percent share in the gas distributor, wants to sell its stake.

Eni gas e Luce’s involvement in distribution has remained secondary to retail energy, the company’s primary focus, on an international scale.

The ministry’s anticipated legislative revisions promise to unify the asset bases of EDA Attiki, distributing to the wider Athens area, EDA THESS (Thessaly and Thessaloniki), as well as DEDA, covering the rest of Greece.

This asset base unification concerning the three distributors will lessen DEDA’s cost burden resulting from its network expansion projects as small distribution surcharge hikes by the two other EDA companies will hasten DEDA’s recovery of investment costs.

EP INVESTMENT ADVISORS; FIRST STATE INVESTMENTS (European Diversified Infrastructure Fund II); ITALGAS SpA; KKR (KKR Global Infrastructure Investors III L.P.); MACQUARIE (MEIF 6 DI HOLDINGS); and a consortium comprising SINO-CEE FUND & SHANGHAI DAZHONG PUBLIC UTILITIES (GROUP) Co., Ltd are the qualifiers through to the final round of the DEPA Infrastructure privatization.

RAE ‘not referring to EDA THESS’ when raising need for closer monitoring

Gas distributor EDA THESS is definitely not one of the sector’s companies the RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) chief was referring to when stating that the Greek energy market’s gas and electricity operators require closer monitoring so that consumers can benefit from lower surcharges and improved services, EDA THESS General Manager Leonidas Bakouras has stressed in a swift response to remarks by RAE chief executive Thanassis Dagoumas.

The regulatory authority’s plan includes commissioning certified auditors to inspect the financial data of market operators.

In a written statement, the EDA THESS general manager noted that, through efficient technical and financial management of the distribution networks in the Thessaloniki and Thessaly areas, the company has achieved Greece’s lowest distribution surcharges, since the end of 2016, while distribution surcharge reductions in Thessaloniki and Thessaly for 2021 are at 15 and 22 percent, respectively, compared to 2020.

Distribution surcharge reductions in 2021 for Thessaloniki and Thessaly industrial consumers are even greater, down 45 and 56 percent, respectively, proving that EDA THESS is already contributing to minimizing costs for consumers, Bakouras added.

 

RAE to intensify its operator monitoring, starting with gas

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is gearing up to intensify its monitoring of the Greek energy market’s gas and electricity operators with the aim of minimizing operator surcharges for consumers and helping improve operator services, the authority’s chief executive, Thanassis Dagoumas, has told a news conference, reiterating the intention, also stressed during a recent presentation of its annual report.

The regulatory authority’s plan includes commissioning certified auditors to inspect the financial data of market operators.

Gas grid operator DESFA, gas distributors EDA Attiki, EDA THESS and DEDA, as well as the power grid operator IPTO and electricity distribution network operator DEDDIE can, as a result, expected closer inspections.

The authority intends to commence its intensified monitoring effort with the natural gas sector, where numerous new projects are planned for development, in an effort to ensure fair surcharge costs for consumers.

Dagoumas, at the news conference, reiterated that the operators, whose revenues are regulated, cannot enjoy wider profit margins than other market players.

Operators will be offered incentives for swifter completion of projects, which, combined with the stricter monitoring effort, will result in either bonuses or penalties, depending on the degree of progress made, the RAE chief highlighted once again.

RAE intends to introduce incentive-based policies, standard practice around Europe, for all energy market operators active in transmission and distribution.

 

ELPE to abandon its onshore block licenses in country’s west

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.

 

Low temperatures in Europe pushing gas prices higher, LNG tankers returning

Lower-than-usual temperatures for this time of year have greatly increased the pressure on natural gas prices, driving prices higher.

Gas prices have also increased in other European markets, including Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

In some markets, such as that of the UK, the strong demand for gas has also been attributed to factors other than the low temperatures, such as reduced wind energy production.

The current price for gas at Dutch gas trading platform TTF is 17.66 €/MWh, 17.233 €/MWh at the PEG exchange, 18.17 €/MWh at the NCG, 18.304 €/MWh at Gaspool, 18.529 €/MWh at the VTP,  and 18.575 €/MWh at the PSV, according to ICIS Heren, an established information provider for the gas, power and carbon markets.

The higher gas demand has prompted an increase in LNG tanker deliveries to European destinations. A total of 10.2 billion cubic meters were added to European terminals in March, the highest level recorded since April, 2020, and almost double the 5 bcm figure registered in January, according to latest data.

Low gas prices at European hubs earlier this year resulted in LNG tanker routes to Asian markets, where prices and profit margins were greater. Higher prices in Europe are now bringing back tankers to the continent.

As for the Greek market, two LNG tankers are scheduled to arrive at the Revythoussa terminal, on the islet just off Athens, in April, beginning, early in the month, with a joint order placed by the Heron and Mytilineos companies for 73,855 cubic meters each. It will be followed by a second order, scheduled for late in April, by Elpedison (118,168 cubic meters) and Motor Oil Hellas (33,235 cubic meters).

Two further shipments are expected at the Revythoussa terminal in May, according to the current schedule, one for Mytilineos, the other for Elpedison.

Interview: How EDA THESS achieves growth, reduction of tariffs and returns for shareholders

The main features of EDA THESS’ development program are the increased penetration of natural gas by the network’s expansion and the implementation of reduced tariffs for consumers combined with increased returns for the shareholders, as referred by the General Manager of the Company, Leonidas Bakouras, in his interview on energypress.

(See the full interview with Mr. Bakouras: Interview of the General Manager of EDA THESS, Mr. Leonidas Bakouras, on energypress.gr) 

The reduction of gas distribution tariffs for domestic and industrial consumers is a “result” of the Company’s strategy, with the main pillar being the design for high quality network construction, which is based on techno-economic criteria of efficiency.

It is no coincidence that, in the recent period due to tariff reductions, 20 new energy-intensive industries and large consumers have signed connection contracts to the natural gas network.

At the same time, the investment program of the Company, as approved by the competent Authority for the period 2021-2025, is in progress, in light of the great expectations deriving from the extremely positive results of 2020.

“We have a large Program which was approved at the end of December by the Authority for the period 2021-2025 and implementation of investments has already started in January”, said Mr. Leonidas Bakouras, pointing out that for 2020, 23,000 new connections were acquired, distributed volumes were increased by 10% compared to the previous year of 2019 and natural gas penetration reached 64% in population.

The General Manager of EDA THESS made special reference to CNG technology, which has a dual role, both for the safe and uninterrupted operation of the distribution network in case of any malfunction, and for the natural gas distribution in remote areas. According to him, the Company has supplied new areas with CNG technology, a successful model since it managed to supply even the most remote areas with natural gas.

Referring to the positive financial results of the Company, the distribution of 20 million euros in dividends to the shareholders is expected, and as Leonidas Bakouras characteristically stated: “We achieve return on equity (ROE) of 7.2%, a ratio that showed a four-year high. We are on an upward trajectory, as shareholders are satisfied, consumers are satisfied (since distribution tariffs are reduced), and employees are satisfied. A triptych that contributes to the development of our country, offering a healthy working environment and added value to the place”.

Motor Oil ‘Dioryga Gas’ FSRU on DESFA 10-yr plan, set to roll

Approval by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, of gas grid operator DESFA’s ten-year grid development plan, covering 2021 to 2030, with the inclusion of petroleum group Motor Oil’s “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project, 1.5 km southwest of the company’s refinery in Korinthos, west of Athens, paves the way for this unit’s actualization.

Motor Oil anticipates the FSRU, promising to offer yet another natural gas entry point to the domestic system, can be launched by the end of 2023.

To accept LNG via sea routes, the floating storage regasification unit’s capacity is estimated at 2-3 bcm per year.

The “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project was incorporated into DESFA’s ten-year development plan following amendments to a preliminary plan, made once an agreement had been reached between the gas grid operator and Motor Oil.

This agreement ended a dispute between the two sides over the project’s absence from the operator’s ten-year plan. Motor Oil protested against the FSRU’s exclusion, expressing its disapproval to DESFA as well as RAE.

The project’s inclusion on DESFA’s ten-year plan will enable Motor Oil to take investment decisions needed for its development.

The petroleum group is currently also examining the regulatory and commercial frameworks concerning the project with the aim of offering optimal services to users. Motor Oil intends to stage a market test in 2021.

The “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project will ease the saturation pressure on Greece’s other FSRU, on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, reinforce gas supply to the Greek market as the country’s LNG storage capacity will increase by 80 percent, and also facilitate further penetration of natural gas in remote parts of the country.

DEPA Commercial privatization on hold, awaiting ELFE dispute

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas’ admission of concern over the impact, on DEPA Commercial’s privatization prospects, of the gas company’s ongoing legal dispute with ELFE (Hellenic Fertilizers and Chemicals) increases the likelihood of this sale being deferred until late this year, if not later, sources contend.

The minister, speaking at Power & Supply Forum, an online event staged earlier this week by energypress, admitted being troubled by DEPA Commercial’s unresolved legal battle with “a major consumer”.

DEPA Commercial has challenged an Athens Court of First Instance verdict that ordered the company to return 61 million euros to ELFE for alleged overcharging between 2010 and 2015. The appeal has been deferred for September and may be jointly heard with a separate case involving the two companies over a similar amount of unpaid receivables that is allegedly owed by the fertilizer and chemicals producer to DEPA.

The government will most likely wait for the outcome of this legal dispute to be settled before taking any further steps in the DEPA Commercial privatization, planned to offer the Greek State’s 65 percent stake of the company and a 35 percent stake held by Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE).

Regardless of the outcome at the appeals court, this legal wrangle is expected to be taken all the way to the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, the sources noted.

Should ELFE be vindicated in the overcharging case, other DEPA customers – even bigger consumers than ELFE – can also be expected to also take legal action, which could end up costing the gas company as much as a billion euros in refunds, the sources said.

Cancellation of the current privatization procedure and an ensuing company split of DEPA Commercial that would enable the sale of subsidiary Fysiko Aerio/Hellenic Energy Company is an unlikely prospect, the sources added.

Desfa-Gek Terna, Energean to S. Kavala UGS tender 2nd rnd

DESFA-GEK TERNA and Energean Oil & Gas have advanced to the second-round, binding-offers stage of a tender offering use, development and operation of an underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) in the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala”, while China’s CMEC-MAISON GROUP failed to qualify, privatization fund TAIPED has announced in a statement.

Following the signing of confidentiality agreements, the two qualifiers will be granted access to the tender’s virtual data room, where financial and technical data will be uploaded for due diligence procedures.

However, much work lies ahead before this project matures to enable the submission of binding offers. A number of regulatory issues remain pending, officials monitoring developments have informed, describing the project as complex and highly technical.

Pending issues include determining the percentage of the UGS’s capacity to be regulated for pre-determined earnings, and the percentage of capacity whose earnings will be shaped by market forces. The regulatory period and WACC level also need to be decided and set.

Given these tasks, as well as obstacles raised by the pandemic, binding offers are not expected to be submitted any sooner than late-2021. The final stage of this tender appears most likely to take place early in 2022.

Power & Gas Supply Forum returns for second edition

Returning after a successful inaugural staging last year, the Power & Gas Supply Forum, organized by the energypress team, is taking place today as an online event.

Free access to livestreaming of the forum is available through the energypress.gr website.

Members of the public who tune in will be able to participate interactively by forwarding questions to the forum’s speakers, making observations and providing comments.

The event will be opened by energy minister Kostas Skrekas through a live interview.

Spain’s Repsol also exiting Ioannina license, to be fully held by Energean

Spain’s Repsol is continuing to disinvest its hydrocarbon interests in the Greek market in the wake of a return to the Greek State of its licensing rights for a block in Etoloakarnania, northwestern Greece, the company’s latest move being a plan to withdraw from a license concerning a block in Ioannina, also in the northwest.

Repsol, which formed a partnership with Energean Oil & Gas for the Ioannina block, holds a 60 percent stake in this project, now at a pre-drilling stage, as an exploratory step.

Repsol has informed EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, of its decision to withdraw from the Ioannina block, according to sources. The Spanish petroleum firm’s 60 percent stake will be transferred to Greek partner Energean, currently holder of the license’s other 40 percent, the sources added.

The Spanish company’s decisions on Greece are part of a wider disinvestment strategy aiming to reduce the firm’s international exposure to hydrocarbon exploration and production activities, sources explained.

Energean will seek a deadline extension, from EDEY, for drilling at the Ioannina license as it intends to find a new partner, sources informed. The Greek company remains interested in exploring the area’s hydrocarbon potential, the sources added.

Repsol’s intentions concerning an offshore block in the Ionian Sea, for which it has formed a 50-50 joint venture with Hellenic Petroleum, remain unclear.