ELPE negotiating reopening of North Macedonia oil pipeline

Hellenic Petroleum ELPE, Greek government and North Macedonian officials have begun talks aiming for the reopening of an oil pipeline linking ELPE’s Thessaloniki refinery with the company’s Okta refinery in the neighboring country through an extrajudicial settlement by the end of the year.

The issue was discussed at a meeting in Thessaloniki yesterday, held on the sidelines of a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

At the meeting, the ELPE and North Macedonian government officials appeared keen on achieving an out-of-court settlement, sources informed.

The Greek petroleum group is seeking compensation of 32 million dollars for a breach, by the neighboring country, of contractual obligations concerning minimum supply amounts between 2008 and 2011.

ELPE has already won an older case, on the same issue, at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris for compensation worth 52 million dollars. This verdict was delivered in 2007, three years after the case was filed.

The Greek and North Macedonian sides, encouraged by the US, agreed to form a committee to work, until mid-October, on a solution that could enable the oil pipeline to reopen following a seven-year interruption, sources informed.

The officials have set a deadline to reopen the pipeline by the end of the year, sources added.

ELPE has completed all technical work needed for the oil pipeline’s relaunch, sources said. The pipeline’s use in place of oil tankers would offer drastic transportation cost cuts.

The ELPE officials updated North Macedonia’s government officials on the company’s investment plan for the neighboring country, sources said. It is believed to include RES investments and a conversion of ELPE’s Okta facilities into a petroleum products hub that would serve the western Balkans.

ELPE is already present in Serbia and Montenegro and is now targeting the markets of Albania and Kosovo for supply of ready-to-use petroleum products.

The oil pipeline stopped operating in 2013 after ELPE deemed its Okta refining activities were no longer feasible. The 213-km pipeline has a 350,000-metric ton capacity.

Until 2013, the pipeline was used to transfer crude oil from ELPE’s Thessaloniki refinery to the Okta unit in Skopje.

Greek energy minister Costis Hatzidakis chaired yesterday’s meeting, which involved the participation of secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou; deputy minister for economic diplomacy Kostas Fragogiannis; ELPE president Giannis Papathanasiou; ELPE chief executive Andreas Siamisiis; North Macedonian government deputies Liupko Nikolovski and Fatmit Bitikji; the country’s economy minister Kreshnik Bekteshi; US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon; and the US Ambassador to North Macedonia Kate Marie Byrnes.

Greek, North Macedonian operators working on gas, power links

Greek gas grid operator DESFA and its state-controlled North Macedonian counterpart MER plan to upgrade a memorandum of cooperation signed in 2016 for the construction of a 120-kilometer gas pipeline from Thessaloniki’s Nea Mesimvria area to the northern neighbor.

Heading a Greek delegation, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his North Macedonian peer Zoran Zaev have agreed to sign a series of bilateral agreements and memorandums of cooperation in Skopje today.

The project, to interconnect the Greek and North Macedonian gas transmission systems, is regarded as one of the most significant energy investments being prepared by the two countries.

It is planned to offer an annual transmission capacity of about 3 billion cubic meters and also enable an interconnection with the TAP route – to supply Azerbaijan gas to European markets via Greece – for a diversification of sources.

The DESFA-MER association promises to be further enhanced by the North Macedonian operator’s moves for gas system interconnections with Kosovo and Montenegro.

Subsequently, the Greek-North Macedonian natural gas pipeline, once constructed, promises to offer a new supply route to Balkan markets.

DESFA is preparing to stage a market test for the Greek-North Macedonian pipeline during the second half of this year, sources have informed.

Meanwhile, Greece’s power grid operator IPTO and its North Macedonian counterpart MEPSO are discussing preliminary studies intended to lead to an upgrade of electricity interconnections between the two countries.

Energean commences its drilling campaign in Israel

Energean Oil and Gas, the oil and gas producer focused on the Mediterranean, has commenced its 2019 drilling program in Israel, consisting of three development wells and Karish North, the company has announced.

As a result of this four-well campaign, Energean has a further six drilling options available in its contract with Stena Drilling Ltd.

Energean plans to batch drill the top-hole sections of the wells, which will allow significant operational efficiencies and cost savings, the company noted.

The drilling campaign is being undertaken using the Stena DrillMAX drillship, a sixth-generation drillship capable of drilling in water depths of up to 10,000 feet.

Energean is a London Premium Listed FTSE 250 and Tel Aviv Listed E&P company with operations offshore Israel, Greece and the Adriatic.

Energean has 349 mmboe of 2P reserves and 48 mmboe of 2C resources across its portfolio.

In August, 2017, the company received Israeli Governmental approval for the FDP for its Karish Tanin gas development project, where it intends to use an FPSO and produce first gas in 2021.

Energean has already signed contracts for 4.6 bcma of gas sales into the Israeli domestic market.

Future gas sales agreements will focus on both the growing Israeli domestic market and key export markets in the region, the company noted.

In Greece, Energean is pursuing an ongoing investment and development program to increase production from its Prinos and Prinos North oil fields and to develop the Epsilon oil field in the Gulf of Kavala, northern Greece.

Energean possesses five exploration licences offshore Israel, a 25-year exploitation licence for the Katakolo offshore block in western Greece, as well as additional exploration potential in its other licences in western Greece and Montenegro.

 

 

 

Energean begins 3D seismic survey work at Montenegro licenses

Energean Oil & Gas, Greece’s sole oil producer, has begun 3D seismic survey work at its offshore exploration and production licenses in Montenegro in search of additional hydrocarbon deposits.

Norway’s PGS has been commissioned for the task, whose results are expected in the third quarter of this year. The PGS survey work on behalf of Energean Oil & Gas is expected to be completed within February.

A PGS seismic ship, Ramform Titan, entered Montenegro’s offshore area on Wednesday and anchored about one mile from the coast, near Bar, the country’s main sea port. Its 3D seismic survey work plans to scan offshore areas between Bar and the Montenegrin town Budva.

Energean Oil & Gas took part in a tender in 2014 and acquired licenses measuring a total of 338 square kilometers in two Montenegro offshore areas. The company went on to sign exploration and production licenses for these plots in March, 2017.

Both areas are believed to be promising. An independent industry firm believes they could contain 1.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 144 million barrels of oil.

Montenegro’s plots have drawn major international players. A consortium made up of ENI and Novatek recently completed seismic surveys at four offshore blocks adjacent to those held by Energean Oil & Gas.

Name agreement developing Fyrom into ELPE oil hub

A bilateral agreement between Greece and Fyrom (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) for a change of name by the latter to the Republic of North Macedonia is providing further momentum to talks between ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) and the neighboring country’s government for the reopening of an oil pipeline stretching 213 kilometers from the Greek petroleum group’s Thessaloniki facilities to its Okta company refinery across the northern border.

The two sides are close to finalizing an agreement for the pipeline’s relaunch, sources informed. The facility was shut down in 2013 when ELPE decided it was no longer feasible to keep it running.

The Greek company used the pipeline as a channel of transportation for crude from its Thessaloniki plant to the Okta unit in Fyrom.

Road networks have been used to supply fuels to Fyrom since 2013 but transportation costs and smuggling activity have risen sharply at the expense of both Fyrom and ELPE, the neighboring market’s main supplier.

Besides supplying the Fyrom market, ELPE’s Okta refinery also promises to serve as a hub for the wider region. Wider growth in Balkan countries over recent years was a catalyst in the ELPE board’s decision to reopen the pipeline to its Okta plant.

ELPE maintains a market presence in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Fyrom, operating more than 200 petrol stations in total. The pipeline’s reopening is expected to facilitate ELPE’s entry into new markets.

 

Energean set for 20-year output high of 1.5m barrels in 2018, new drilling

Officials at Energean Oil & Gas, nowadays a publically traded company following last March’s listing on the London Stock Exchange’s main market, avoided disclosing too much information at a company presentation yesterday but confirmed the achievement of a 20-year production high of 1.5 million barrels for 2018, at a production rate of nearly 4,100 bpd.

Half this amount – 2,000 bpd – was provided by the company’s Prinos North oil field, which began producing last February following horizontal drilling.

Company officials also noted a new drilling effort will be staged at the Epsilon oil field, located in the Gulf of Kavala, northern Greece. Output here will signal Greece’s first point of utilization and oil production since the Prinos and Prinos North fields.

Energean’s detailed new production guidelines are expected to be announced by the board in January.

Beyond Greece, Energean, a leading independent E&P company focused on the Eastern Mediterranean region, plans to commence 3D seismic surveys at a section of offshore licenses held in Israel as well as at two offshore licenses in Montenegro.

In March, Energean plans to drill at its Karish North license in Israel, aiming to discover 34 billion cubic meters of natural gas. This drill has been given an almost 70 percent chance of succeeding.

Last November, Energean began constructing a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit to be installed in the east Mediterranean region. It will offer an annual production capacity of 8 billion cubic meters.

Energean’s listing on the London Stock Exchange was the biggest IPO by a petroleum firm in the past four years and the sole entry in 2018. Energean’s share has since been one of the best FTSE 250 performers, rising 35 percent.

Just under two months ago, Energean was also listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) secondary list.

 

 

ELPE oil pipeline from Thessaloniki to Fyrom seen reopening March

An oil pipeline stretching 213 kilometers from Greek petroleum group  ELPE’s Thessaloniki facilities in the country’s north to its Okta company refinery across the northern border in Fyrom (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) is expected to reopen around March after the firm ceased using this channel in 2013, ruling it, at the time, as inefficient and unprofitable.

The ensuing road transportation of fuels has sharply increased costs and smuggling activity.

ELPE and Fyrom’s administration are ready for the oil pipeline’s reopening, sources have informed. However, constitutional changes concerning a bilateral agreement for Fyrom’s name change to the Republic of North Macedonia, requiring several rounds of voting in parliament, still need to be completed before oil quantities can be transported through this pipeline.

The ELPE group is currently using its Okta company refinery as a storage facility. Balkan regional growth experienced in recent years has rekindled the Greek petroleum firm’s interest in the Okta unit as a transit center for distribution of petroleum products in Fyrom and other countries in the region.

ELPE maintains a market presence in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Fyrom, operating over 200 petrol stations.

The Thessaloniki-Fyrom oil pipeline’s reopening is expected to significantly reduce fuel transportation costs to these markets.

 

Energean Oil & Gas announces first CPR results for Montenegro blocks

Energean Oil & Gas has announced the first Competent Persons Report (CPR) for its assets offshore Montenegro, compiled by Netherland Sewell & Associates (NSAI), detailing the recoverable gas and liquids resource estimates in respect to Energean’s 100% interest in blocks 4218-30 and 4219-26.

The CPR shows the combined net unrisked prospective recoverable resources (P50) for the two blocks, awarded to the company earlier this year, as 1.8 TCF natural gas and 144 mmbbls liquids (438 mmboe in total).

Energean is currently the sole operator, with 100% working interest, of offshore blocks 4218-30 and 4219-26. The blocks were officially awarded in March 2017, following the signing of a concession agreement between the company and the State of Montenegro. The two blocks cover a surface area of 338 km2 in shallow waters.

The CPR is part of the first three-year exploration phase, which entails a mandatory work programme including a 3D seismic survey covering the two blocks that is planned to be acquired in 2018, and geological and geophysical (G&G) studies. The total cost of this initial exploration phase is estimated at US$5m.

The CPR is an important step in scoping the potential of the offshore Montenegro area, which is currently underexplored, despite the fact that oil and gas discoveries were made during drilling by previous Operators in late 20th century, but not commercialised.

Commenting on the CPR findings, Energean CEO, Mr. Mathios Rigas, stated:

“The CPR further suggests that Montenegro sits in the ‘sweet spot’ of untapped potential in the eastern Adriatic. The area remains substantially underexplored, despite having what appears to be a working petroleum system with extensive sandstone and carbonate reservoir development. The western offshore Adriatic has been a prolific hydrocarbon-producing province for over 50 years for both oil and biogenic gas and we believe that the same hydrocarbon plays extend into offshore Montenegro.

“With exploration experience in western Greece, Energean has developed a detailed understanding of the area’s geology and is committed and uniquely positioned to maximise development possibilities and unlock the region’s hydrocarbon potential.”

Energean is a leading independent E&P company focused on the eastern Mediterranean region, where it holds nine E&P licenses, encompassing offshore Israel, Greece, the Adriatic and onshore north Africa.

It is the only oil and gas producer in Greece with a 35-year track record of operating offshore and onshore assets in environmentally sensitive areas and employs 480 oil and gas professionals.

The group has 37 million barrels (2P) in the Prinos License, offshore northeastern Greece and through its subsidiary Energean Israel, a company in which Energean and Kerogen Capital hold 50% each, resources of approximately 450 million barrels of oil equivalent (2C) in the Karish and Tanin Fields.

Energean Oil & Gas has recently received approval from the Israeli Government of the FDP for the Karish and Tanin fields, aiming to use an FPSO and produce first gas in 2020.

Energean Oil & Gas is also pursuing an ongoing investment and development programme to increase production from the Prinos and North Prinos Oil Fields and develop the Epsilon Oil Field, located in the Gulf of Kavala, northern Greece.

The company has secured a 25-year exploitation license for the Katakolo offshore block in western Greece with first oil expected in 2019/20, representing the first production of oil or gas in the west of the country.

Energean Oil & Gas also has significant exploration potential in the licenses held in western Greece, Montenegro and Egypt, which provide the basis for future organic growth.

Energean set to sign Montenegro offshore licenses

Montenegro’s government and Greek firm Energean Oil & Gas are just days away from signing a hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation agreement for two offshore blocks in the Adriatic Sea, sources have told energypress.

The agreement has already been approved by the Montenegrin parliament and the neighboring country’s finance ministry is now planning to invite Energean officials to Podgorica to sign contracts.

As pointed out by Energean officials, the west side of the Adriatic has proven to be a particularly rich area for hydrocarbon exploration and production over the past 50 or so years. Italy has benefited from oil output, while the region has also produced gas output for Italy and Croatia.

On the contrary, the east side of the Adriatic essentially remains underexplored, despite its prospects.

Energean believes that Montenegro’s offshore blocks could offer great potential. The Greek company has conducted extensive geological studies in the area. Ongoing work carried out by Energean at its nearby Greek licenses in Ioannina and Katakolo over the past two years has increased the company’s familiarity with the region.