Repsol leaving last Greek concession, domestic upstream aspirations fading

Spain’s Repsol is believed to be in the process of abandoning its last remaining hydrocarbon concession in Greece, an Ionian Sea block, even though the company has yet to officially notify EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company.

It remains to be seen whether ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), Repsol’s partner in the Ionian Sea block, will follow suit and return its share to EDEY. ELPE officials have not clarified the group’s position.

Repsol previously returned to the Greek State its stake in an Etoloakarnania concession along with project partner Energean, and also transferred its stake in an Ioannina block to the Greek upstream company.

Like all major oil groups, Repsol has suffered major financial setbacks as a result of the pandemic and drop in oil prices, serving as catalysts in the company’s decision to restrict its exposure to the upstream sector.

At the beginning of this year, Repsol announced a decision to exit 14 countries, including Greece, from a total of 28 in which the company has held interests.

Upstream players are looking to readjust following the impact of the pandemic and more ambitious climate-change targets, including by the EU.

These developments appear to be shelving Greece’s ambitions for hydrocarbon discoveries following initiatives launched 11 to 12 years ago.

Both ELPE and Energean have requested and received extensions from EDEY for a series of concessions held within Greek territory.

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.

 

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.

New deadline extensions granted for work at hydrocarbon blocks

The higher risk entailed in hydrocarbon exploration as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and a mass turn, including by petroleum companies, to green-energy activities are factors forcing investors with licenses to Greek blocks to delay their development plans.

Energean Oil & Gas and Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) have both requested and been granted deadline extensions for preliminary exploration work at two blocks to which they hold licenses that were approved by Greek authorities in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

These extensions concern offshore Block 2 in the Ionian Sea – for which Energean is the operator with a 75 percent stake following Total’s withdrawal in February, 2020, and ELPE the minority partner with a 25 percent stake – and an onshore block in the northwest Peloponnese for which ELPE is the sole participant.

Energean requested and was granted a 24-month extension, until March 15, 2023, by EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, for preliminary work at Block 2 in the Ionian Sea.

EDEY also granted ELPE an extension, though shorter – 6 months, to September 15, 2021 – for the completion of preliminary work at its northwest Peloponnese license. ELPE originally sought a 20-month extension until March 15, 2022.

These extensions follow a decision, early this year, by Repsol and Energean to return to the Greek State their license to an onshore block at Etoloakarnania, northwestern Greece.

Also earlier this year, EDEY granted a third extension to ELPE and Edison E&P (now Energean, following its acquisition of the Italian company’s local hydrocarbon portfolio) for initial drilling at a Gulf of Patras block in the country’s west, which has been extended to January, 2023.

Repsol-Energean abandon rights for Etoloakarnania block

A consortium comprised of Spanish petroleum group Repsol and Energean Oil & Gas has surrendered its hydrocarbon exploitation and production rights for on onshore license in the Etoloakarnania area, northwestern Greece, the partners informed EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, last Friday, sources have revealed.

The partners attributed this decision to the sharp drop in oil prices that has made upstream investments unfeasible, as well as their environmental footprint efforts.

Repsol is also preparing to withdraw its interests from an offshore block in the Ionian Sea through a license it shares with Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE).

In addition, the Spanish group is reconsidering its interests in a license for an onshore block in Ioaninna, also in Greece’s northwest, sources informed. Repsol holds a 60 percent stake in this license, the other 40 percent belonging to Energean Oil & Gas. The partners face an April deadline for an investment decision concerning initial drilling.

Three months earlier, Repsol, through a strategic business plan covering 2021 to 2025, announced exploration and production investment cuts worth 700 million dollars, annually. The company plans to focus its activities in 14 countries, not including Greece.

Spain’s Repsol on verge of exiting Greek upstream market

Spanish petroleum firm Repsol, a member of consortiums holding licenses to three fields in Greece, is on the verge of leaving the country’s upstream market as a part of a wider strategic adjustment prompted by the oil crisis and the pandemic, developments that have impacted exploration plans, as well as a company plan to reduce its environmental footprint, sources have informed.

The upstream industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, which has driven down prices and demand. The EU’s climate-change policies are another key factor behind Repsol’s decision.

Repsol is believed to have decided to significantly reduce the number of countries in which it is currently present for hydrocarbon exploration and production, the intention being to limit operations to the more lucrative of fields.

All three fields in Repsol’s Greek portfolio are still at preliminary research stages and do not offer any production assurances, meaning they will most probably be among the first to be scrapped by the company from its list of projects.

Respol formed a partnership with Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) for offshore exploration in the Ionian Sea. Repsol is the operator in this arrangement. A license secured by the two partners for this region in 2018 was approved in Greek Parliament a year later.

Also, in 2017, Repsol agreed to enter a partnership with Energean Oil & Gas, acquiring 60 percent stakes, and the operator’s role, for onshore blocks in Ioannina and Etoloakarnania, northwestern Greece.

Repsol maintains interests in over 40 countries, producing approximately 700,000 barrels per day.

Upstream projects awaiting Greek State reassurances

Local and foreign upstream companies holding exploration and production licenses for hydrocarbon reserves on Greek territory, offshore and onshore, are awaiting Greek State reassurances for their ventures following a cabinet reshuffle that has resulted in a change of leadership at the energy ministry, bringing in Kostas Skrekas in place of Costis Hatzidakis.

Oil companies, delaying investment plans as a result of the pandemic and lower oil prices, are waiting for a vote of confidence from the Greek State, market sources insist.

The fall in oil prices, currently at levels of about 50 dollar a barrel, may have halted upstream investments internationally, but, nevertheless, this is a good time for resolving bureaucratic obstacles and preparing local communities for prospective exploration efforts that promise to contribute to job creation and economic recovery.

Four upstream investment plans are currently either at an advanced stage in terms of prospective drilling or at preliminary exploration stages.

Of all four plans, Energean’s license for Katakolo, western Greece, is at the most mature stage. Public consultation on an environmental impact study concerning this project’s drilling requirements was completed in December, 2019. The regional authority for western Greece has offered its approval. Even so, a year later, the energy ministry has yet to deliver its decision on the environmental study.

A license for the Gulf of Patras field, held by Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and Edison, is also at a mature stage. The partners requested, and were granted, an extension for the start of drilling at this field. EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, granted the pair a further 15 months, until January 23, 2023, to facilitate their preparations.

Sources have attributed this additional time to a lack of appropriate regional port facilities, needed to facilitate the installation of equipment required for drilling. ELPE and Edison had previously been given another extension, until October, 2021.

On another front, a partnership comprising Repsol and Energean has until April to start a second stage of exploration activities at its Ioannina block in northwestern Greece. Local community approval is needed. The government needs to take action on the issue.

A fourth upstream project carrying geopolitical weight concerns licenses held by a consortium made up of Total, ExxonMobil and ELPE for offshore fields west and southwest of Crete. Though company representatives recently informed Crete’s regional authorities that seismic surveys are planned to begin towards spring, there have been no further updates or any signs of action.

Repsol given 6-month extension for Ioannina license preliminary work

A pandemic-related extension request made by Spain’s Repsol for an additional six-month period to complete preliminary research concerning a license in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, has been granted by EDEY, Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, in a decision reached last week that resets the deadline for April 2, 2021.

Repsol, operator of a consortium formed with Energean Oil & Gas for the Ioannina license, had lodged its extension request late in August.

Repsol’s preliminary research work at the Ioannina license was initially expected to be completed by early October ahead of a decision on whether it would proceed with drilling.

The pandemic has severely impacted the upstream industry worldwide. Multinationals engaged in hydrocarbon research and production activities have severely limited their investment plans as a result of the pandemic’s impact on petroleum markets.

A rebound for the upstream sector appears highly unlikely any time soon given the rising second wave of coronavirus cases.

The EDEY extension will enable Repsol to conduct a more thorough analysis of seismic data collected and enable the company to hold on for the prospect of improved upstream industry conditions.

EDEY justified its extension by noting it will help the investors complete their assessment of technical work conducted during the preliminary stage.

 

 

Repsol-Energean given extra year for Ioannina license preliminary stage

A consortium comprising Repsol and Energean Oil & Gas has been granted a one-year extension by EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, to complete preliminary exploration work at an onshore license in the wider region of Ioannina, northwestern Greece.

Repsol, controlling a 60 percent stake in the consortium, and Energean, holding 40 percent stake, requested an additional year until October 2, 2020, to complete preliminary exploration work at the license.

This is the second deadline extension granted to Repsol-Energean for the license’s preliminary phase. A first extension, granted in 2017, expires next month. The consortium is currently processing new seismic data.

The EDEY extension decision also requires the consortium to complete a second exploration phase, involving deep drilling, by October 2, 2022, should the partners decide to pursue the license further.

The license location’s geological features, featuring rocky terrain, are considered challenging. Also, the two companies have faced resistance, at times extreme, from small groups representing local communities while conducting their seismic research and related activities. The support of local landowners exceeds 90 percent, which has enabled the completion of research work in recent weeks.

Four hydrocarbon licenses taken to parliament, interest in new areas

The energy ministry has submitted to parliament four draft bills for the approval of as many offshore hydrocarbon exploration and production licenses near Crete and in the Ionian Sea.

The imminent approval of these agreements, negotiated between 2015 and 2019, will enhance Greece’s ability to attract foreign investments in the developing hydrocarbon sector, the ministry noted in a statement. The bills were delivered to parliament yesterday.

Exploration-related investments for the four licenses are expected to reach 140 million euros, create jobs and support local communities, according to the ministry’s statement. The recently elected government is striving to project Greece as a business and investment-friendly country.

Agreements for two offshore licenses southwest and west of Crete were signed in June between the Greek State and a consortium comprising Total, ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE).

These were preceded by two agreements signed several months earlier, in April – one for an offshore block in the Ionian Sea, whose rights were acquired by a two-member consortium made up of Repsol and ELPE; the other, for a block west of the Peloponnese, secured by ELPE, the sole participant.

Investors are also believed to be interested in new areas for hydrocarbon exploration.

Ratification of Cretan, western offshore licenses just days away

Parliamentary approval of offshore hydrocarbon exploration and production licenses awarded for four fields west and southwest of Crete as well as Greece’s west is now just days away.

The submission of all four licenses to Greek Parliament by this Friday for ratification is seen as a very likely prospect.

The related draft bill carrying the four licenses will essentially represent the recently appointed energy ministry’s first legislative act.

A consortium comprised of Total, ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) has been awarded two licenses for blocks west and southwest of Crete. Repsol and ELPE were the winning bidders of a tender for a block in the Ionian Sea.

Tenders for these three licenses were held following interest expressed in 2017.

ELPE is the sole participant in a license awarded for Block 10 northwest of the Peloponnese, following a tender launched in 2014.

Scientific surveys have confirmed many geological similarities between the two Cretan offshore blocks and southeast Mediterranean natural gas fields that have produced major discoveries such as Egypt’s Zohr, Cyprus’ Aphrodite and Israel’s Leviathan.

A clearer picture on the prospects of the Greek fields is expected in  eight years, the amount of time it should take to complete related exploration work. A first drilling operation is expected towards the end of this eight-year effort.

The presence of ExxonMobil and Total signals heightened US and French hydrocarbon interest in the wider southeast Mediterranean region.

Industry experts believe ratification of the four Greek licenses will spark further upstream developments in the wider region, including Greece. Preparations are underway for more offshore licenses, especially south of Crete, according to some sources.

Hydrocarbon, PPC, DEPA draft bills to follow Thessaloniki Fair

Energy minister Costas Hatzidakis’ team and related departments are busy preparing three draft bills for submission to parliament, one by one, by October, following this year’s Thessaloniki International Fair, to take place September 7 to 15.

The first of these three draft bills concerns the approval of hydrocarbon exploration and production licenses in offshore areas west and southwest of Crete, involving a consortium comprising Total, ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum ELPE; an Ionian Sea license involving Repsol and ELPE; and Block 10, west of the Peloponnese, for which ELPE is the sole holder.

The US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, made reference to the licenses yesterday as a means of underlining the investment interest in the sector of US firms, including ExxonMobil.

The second draft bill to be tabled in parliament will detail operational revisions at power utility PPC. Hatzidakis, the energy minister, has noted the state-controlled power utility needs to rely less on the Greek State and compete on equal terms with rivals. The power utility draft bill will alter how PPC stages various auctions concerning supply and services. These auctions are strictly regulated by state terms.

A third draft bill, expected to be delivered to parliament within October, will nullify the previous Syriza government’s privatization plan for gas utility DEPA. It entailed splitting the utility into DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure ahead of the sale of respective majority and minority stakes.

The recently elected New Democracy government appears determined to pursue a more aggressive DEPA privatization policy offering majority stakes in both the utility’s distribution network and trading interests.

 

 

 

 

 

Ratification of hydrocarbon licenses within August

Four offshore hydrocarbon exploration and production licenses signed by three groups of investors for areas off Crete, in the Ionian Sea and west of the Peloponnese are expected to be ratified in Greek Parliament within the next few days, possibly before the end of August, energypress sources have informed.

These licenses are significant for the reputation of the recently elected conservative New Democracy party, keen to underline its willingness to cooperate in the energy sector and draw major investments to the country.

Oil majors are involved. France’s Total heads a consortium that includes US giant ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) for the two licenses off Crete, south and southwest of the island.

ELPE has joined forces with Spain’s Repsol for a license in the Ionian Sea, while ELPE is the sole participant in the offshore license west of the Peloponnese.

Greek energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, in talks with US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon earlier this month, pledged the licenses would soon be ratified in parliament.

A swift ratification procedure by the new government would send out a positive message to international investors.

Heightened activity, consortium reshuffling as drilling nears

Following a wider trend observed in the southeast Mediterranean, consortiums holding hydrocarbon exploration and production licenses in Greek territory are moving to reshuffle their line-ups, especially for blocks in the Ionian Sea, as the first local drilling operations in decades draw nearer, energypress sources have informed.

The reshuffling activity, which has not involved blocks off Crete, has been attributed to a search by multinationals for additional partners in consortiums established with Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) as a means of reducing high costs demanded by deep-water exploration in the Ionian Sea.

ELPE holds exploration and production rights for various blocks in the Ionian Sea through consortiums established with Total, Edison and Repsol.

Video Data Rooms have been set up to enable prospective participants to view seismic survey data for Ionian Sea blocks, as well as technical and financial information.

The current reshuffling activity could produce new consortium line-ups by the end of the year, sources have informed.

Greece’s first drilling operation in several decades, at the Gulf of Patras, is expected to commence early next year. Positive results promise to provide further impetus for more drilling in Greek territory.

 

EDEY to drum up Greek oil, gas hopes at Italy, Romania events

Spurred by recent significant gas field discoveries at Cypriot and Egyptian offshore blocks and the favorable prospects these have generated for the wider region, top officials at EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, will be looking to attract major foreign investors to new Greek blocks at two industry events in Italy and Romania.

EDEY chairman Yiannis Basias, who is in Ravenna, Italy today to attend the Offshore Mediterranean Conference & Exhibition, a leading industry event, will be exploring the potential interest of oil majors, including Italy’s ENI, for new offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea and off Crete to soon be licensed out.

EDEY chief’s deputy Spyros Bellas will follow up this effort in Bucharest at the Balkans & Black Sea Cooperation Forum, scheduled to take place April 4 and 5.

Tristan Aspray, ExxonMobil’s Vice President of Exploration for Europe, Russia, and the Caspian, hailed the wider region’s prospects at the recent Delphi Economic Forum in Greece. ExxonMobil is currently involved in exploration work being carried out in Romania.

Speaking earlier this month at London’s Global APPEX (Prospect & Property Expo), an event organized by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), Bellas, EDEY’s deputy, presented a road map of Greece’s hydrocarbon plans for 2019 to officials of foreign companies as well as latest and more detailed geological data on the Ionian Sea and Cretan regions. This data was processed by Norway’s PGS.

The strategy adopted at EDEY is to plan tenders for offshore blocks based on the interest expressed by foreign investors at this series of meetings.

Besides ENI and ExxonMobil, EDEY is seeking to convince Repsol, Shell and other US majors of Greece’s hydrocarbon prospects.

 

 

Ministry committee receives Crete hydrocarbons impact study

An environmental impact study concerning offshore hydrocarbon exploration activity planned for south and southwest of Crete has been forwarded to a special energy ministry committee by EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, following a related public consultation procedure.

This special committee is now in the process of assessing the study before delivering its findings to energy minister Giorgos Stathakis for authorization. Once signed by the minister, the environmental study, along with licensing agreements drafted for offshore plots in the aforementioned regions, will be sent to a supervisory committee for a final legality check before heading to parliament as a draft bill for ratification.

Speaking at the Athens Energy Forum yesterday, Stathakis, the energy minister, estimated that licenses offered for Crete, as well as the Ionian Sea, would be submitted to parliament in approximately two months.

A consortium comprising Total, ExxonMobil and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) has been awarded licenses around Crete, while Repsol and ELPE have secured a license for an Ionian Sea block.

Both investment teams are hoping for a swift completion of bureaucratic procedures to commence their exploratory work as soon as possible.

Repsol, ELPE nearing finalized deal for new Ionian Sea block

EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, and a consortium comprising Spain’s Repsol and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) have completed negotiations for exploration and production rights at a new Ionian Sea block on offer.

The two sides have delivered a draft agreement to the energy ministry. It will also be forwarded to a supervisory committee within the next few days for approval before being signed by all sides involved and submitted to parliament for ratification. The agreement could be finalized by the end of the month, sources informed.

The new Ionian Sea block, measuring 6,612 square kilometers, is the latest block to be offered to investors by EDEY following blocks southwest and west of Crete that were made available in the summer of 2017 through international tenders.

As has been previously reported, Energean Oil & Gas’s early interest in this new Ionian Sea block prompted the latest procedure. Energean, operating Prinos oil fields in Greece’s north as well as Israel’s Karish and Tanin gas fields, ended up not submitting an offer for this Ionian Sea block. Instead, Repsol and ELPE emerged with a joint bid.

Repsol, which has developed into an exploratory force in western Greece and the Ionian Sea, is pressuring for a swift bureaucratic procedure in order to commence seismic survey work at the new block.

Repsol also jointly holds onshore licenses, with Energean as its partner, in northwestern Greece’s Ioannina and Etoloakarnania regions.

EDEY presenting five new fields in search for more investors

EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, is seeking to draw an increased level of attention from petroleum firms for natural gas and oil exploration through five new offshore blocks, located in the Ionian Sea, off Crete and south of the Peloponnese.

The five blocks, ranging from 8,000 to 22,000 square kilometres in size, were presented yesterday by EDEY chairman Yiannis Basias at a workshop organized by IENE, the Institute of Energy for Southeast Europe.

EDEY has reprocessed related seismic survey data concerning these five blocks and plans to present findings at international conferences and meetings with the objective of generating the interest of oil majors.

The Greek hydrocarbon company’s latest initiative comes at a time of elevated activity among southeast Mediterranean, Black Sea and Adriatic countries, all staging tenders for blocks or conducting surveys and drills.

Global oil industry players have turned their attention to the wider region. Total, ExxonMobil, Repsol and Edison have already established a presence on Greek territory. EDEY is hoping to add to the list.

Repsol forced to up budget for Ioannina license seismic survey work

Spanish energy company Repsol, the operator of a 60 percent stake in an onshore block in the Ioannina area, northwestern Greece, farmed out by Energean Oil & Gas, has been forced to revise upwards the project’s budget as a result of increased costs concerning 2D seismic survey work, made more challenging by the region’s landscape features.

Repsol, which has also had to deal with bureaucratic delays, has resumed hydrocarbon exploration work at the Ioannina license following a summer break.

Project costs have risen significantly for Repsol as a result of the company’s need to use specialized equipment, including helicopters, to minimalize the effort’s environmental impact and guarantee the safety of workers. Labor costs have also risen by the need for Repsol to employ more workers. They have ranged between 120 and 200 per day.

Greek energy ministry officials who are well informed on the effort believe further cost increases will be difficult to avoid, given the Ioannina project’s nature. Energean Oil & Gas has retained a 40 percent stake in the venture.

The seismic survey work being conducted in the Ioannina area represents the first such initiative taken in western Greece, onshore, over the past two decades. Lines totaling 400 km and covering seven municipalities are being explored.

 

Major traders, Socar tipped to submit first-round ELPE bids

Two of the world’s biggest commodity traders, Dutch firm Vitol and Switzerland’s Glencore, will probably feature among the participants to officially express interest in ELPE’s (Hellenic Petroleum) international tender offering a 50.1 percent stake of the enterprise, according to latest information provided by sources.

The deadline for non-binding offers expires today following an extension of a previous May 18 deadline.

Besides the aforementioned commodity traders, Azerbaijan’s state-run energy firm Socar, joined by a European firm, possibly Spanish, is also tipped to declare non-binding interest in the bailout-required ELPE sale, sources have informed. This would represent a surprise development.

Socar had taken part in a previous DESFA (natural gas grid operator) sale and was declared the winning bidder before its long-running acquisition attempt was blocked by European Commission competition concerns.

News on the possible participation of major European energy players is not good. European petroleum groups such as Italy’s Eni, Hungary’s MOL, France’s Total, and, possibly, Spain’s Repsol, have reached decisions to not submit initial expressions of interest for the ELPE sale, according to energy market pundits.

A clearer picture on the sale’s preliminary turnout is expected later in the day when TAIPED, the state privatization fund, is expected to announce the list of first-round bidders.

 

 

Repsol, Eni among investors interested in ELPE’s 50.1%

Repsol is seriously considering taking part in an international tender offering 50.1 percent of ELPE (Hellenic Petrolem), announced just days ago, energypress sources have informed.

The Spanish company, already active in Greece’s hydrocarbon exploration and production market, recently formed a partnership with ELPE to submit a joint bid for an offshore block in the Ionian Sea.

Repsol meets all the ELPE tender’s strict criteria – financial, technical and geopolitical – set by TAIPED, the state privatization fund, in association with the sellers, the Greek State and Paneuropean Oil, a member of the Latsis group.

The Spanish firm maintains a strong presence in the refining sector. Its investments in this domain have totalled some 4 billion euros over the past few years. Repsol operates six industrial refineries. In 2016, Repsol’s assets were worth a total of 39.2 billion euros while the enterprise posted a total turnover figure of 36.3 billion euros and an operating profit of over two billion euros.

In the exploration and production field, Repsol has certified deposits of 2.3 billion barrels and is producing 690,000 bpd. Its refining capacity exceeds one mllion bpd.

Another major European petroleum firm, Italy’s Eni, is also believed to be closely monitoring the ELPE tender.

According to the tender’s terms, investors must be able to prove they possess readily available investment amounts worth at least two billion euros.

TAIPED reserves the right to eliminate any interested investor if such a course of action is deemed necessary by the Greek State for protection of national interests, energy securtity and energy supply.

A May 18 deadline has been set for first-round offers. Interested parties have until May 9 to enquire about the international tender’s terms.

 

 

 

EDEY set to deliver opinion on Crete, Ionian hydrocarbon contracts

EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, plans to forward, to the energy ministry, a study evaluating details of contracts for three hydrocarbon licenses in the Ionian Sea and off Crete between late April to early May, energypress sources have informed.

Early in March, two consortiums submitted bids for three blocks to international tenders. Total-ExxonMobil-ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) submitted offers for two blocks west and southwest of Crete. Repsol-ELPE made an offer for the Ionian Sea block.

The EDEY study is focused on technical, legal and financial aspects of the contracts prepared. It is a mandatory step before the participants may be declared prefered bidders.

Once the green light is given, the Greek State will be able to commence licensing negotiations with the consortiums. The aim is to finalize procedures within the next few months, which will clear the way for investments and exploration work.

Both the Greek government and local hydrocarbon sector are placing great emphasis on this specific effort as the interest expressed by ExonMobil, Total and Repsol has raised hopes of potential hydrocarbon discoveries.

Greek State, Latsis group touching up ELPE deal with hydrocarbon issues

Hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation rights either already acquired by ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) or being sought, for blocks off Crete and in the Ionian Sea, are the focus of final-stage negotiations between the Greek State, represented by the government, and the Latsis corporate group aiming for a deal that will enable the sale, by the privatization fund, of a 51 percent stake and management rights of the petroleum firm to prospective buyers through an international tender.

The Greek State currently holds a 35.5 percent stake of ELPE and Paneuropean Oil, a member of the Latsis corporate group, controls a 45.47 percent stake.

Once the two sides reach a deal, seen happening any day now, according to pundits, then a 51 percent stake of ELPE will be offered to a strategic investor.

The two sides are believed to focusing on matters concerning how they will share future profits for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation agreements already signed by ELPE as well as blocks being targeted.

The issue is rather complicated as ELPE holds exclusive rights for certain blocks (Arta-Preveza, northwest Peloponnese) but is a member of various consortiums for all its other hydrocarbon interests.

ELPE and Italy’s Edison have established a 50-50 partnership for a Gulf of Patras block. It holds a 25 percent stake in Block 2 off Corfu. France’s Total holds a 50 percent stake in this venture and Edison controls the other 25 percent. ELPE also holds a 20 percent stake in a consortium that has submitted the only offers for two offshore blocks south and southwest of Crete. Total and Exxon Mobil each hold 40 percent stakes in these initiatives. Also, ELPE and Spain’s Repsol hold 50 percent stakes in an offer submitted for another Ionian Sea block.

Once the government and Latsis group have signed an agreement, TAIPED, the state privatization fund is expected to swiftly announce an international tender. Its terms are expected to shape the turnout of interested investors.

According to the revised bailout, the tender was supposed to have been announced by the end of March. It could be launched this month, barring unexpected developments.

ELPE’s share price has remained relatively steady at levels of between 7.8 and 8 euros over the past month or so despite its privatization prospects. Based on the share’s closing price yesterday, ELPE’s equity-based value is 2.39 billion euros, meaning a 51 percent stake may be estimated at 1.19 billion euros.

ELPE submits three bids, for Crete, Ionian, with partners

Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) has submitted offers, with partners, for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation rights concerning three offshore blocks off Crete and in the Ionian Sea, the petroleum group has confirmed in a company statement.

A consortium comprised of Total (40%, operator), ExxonMobil (40%) and ELPE (20%) submitted offers to tenders offering hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation rights for two offshore blocks, west of Crete and southwest of Crete, while a further offer for an Ionian block, offshore western Greece, was submitted by Repsol (50%, operator) and Hellenic Petroluem, ELPE announced.

The offers by ELPE and its partners come as a result of the stated interested for domestic hydrocarbon exploration and production by the Greek petroleum group, it noted in the statement.

In recent years, ELPE has secured upstream rights to specific areas in west Greece: Patraikos Gulf (ELPE 50% operator, Edison 50%), block 2 (Total 50% operator, ELPE 25% and Edison 25%), Arta – Preveza and NW Peloponnese. The company is also negotiating lease agreements for blocks 1 and 10. 

In his statement, ELPE’s chief executive Grigoris Stergioulis pointed out: “As part of ELPE’s group development strategy, we are consistently implementing our decision to be active in the national effort to discover and exploit domestic hydrocarbon reserves. We rely on our competitive advantages, namely the accumulated experience, technical brilliance, know-how and well-rounded understanding of the Greek business environment that our employees possess.

Continuing our successful participation in international tenders in western Greece, and taking into consideration the recent, positive research conducted in the Patraikos area, we submitted three new offers for the offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea and in the southwest of Crete, thus manifesting the ELPE group’s international prestige. We collaborate with top international companies in our sector able to provide the human capital, the ideas, the advanced technology and the financial capability required, so as to successfully face, along with the ELPE group, this unprecedented – for Greek standards – challenge.

It is our desire to leverage international best practice and the most advanced technology available in order to trace potential reserves; such a development will be a game-changer for the ELPE group and our prospects, it will substantially endorse the national economy, and will strengthen the local communities. The group, stronger than ever before, declares its dedication to the preservation of the country’s natural heritage, by implementing the strictest international regulations for the protection of the environment, a position that is non-negotiable for the group.”

 

Oil majors set for Crete block offers, milder Ionian interest

With just days remaining before deadlines for tenders offering exploration and exploitation rights at a total of three offshore blocks off Crete and in the Ionian Sea, five petroleum firms, including three international oil majors, took part in an exploration security-related meeting held by EDEY (Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company) yesterday, which suggests they will be submitting offers.

Exxon Mobil, Total and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), whose interest in the Greek market prompted EDEY to offer two offshore blocks off Crete, Repsol, following developments for Ionian Sea investments, and Energean Oil & Gas, whose interest in the Ionian Sea area led to the other EDEY tender, all participated in the hydrocarbon company’s meeting, ahead of the deadines for the three tenders, expiring this coming Monday.

The interest expressed by investors for the two Cretan offshore blocks appears to be greater.

Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek, which have visited a related virtual room set up for the tenders by EDEY for information, were not represented by any officials at yesterday’s meeting. It remains to be seen whether these absences mean that the two firms will not submit offers on Monday.

At this stage it appears that a three-member consortium made up of Exxon Mobil, Total and ELPE, as well as Italy’s Eni, already active in Cyrpus, will submit offers for the Cretan blocks. A third offer from Noble and Delek would come as a surprise.

Eni recently had to deal with Turkish intervention in Cypriot waters, which has delayed the firm’s drilling plans for that area.

As for the one Ionian Sea block being offered, Spain’s Repsol has displayed a consistent interest, despite negative reactions by local authorities and citizens against nearby exploration work, with Energean, in the Ioannina area, northwestern Greece.

In an Oil & Gas Journal article published last month, two EDEY officials informed that areas west and southwest of Crete have shown serious signs of deposits.

The northwest part of the Ionian Sea, the location of the third block being offered, has also shown hydrocarbon potential as it shares similar geological characteristics with the southeast Adriatic Sea, already producing.

 

 

 

 

Energean farm out to Repsol for 60% of Ioannina block endorsed

The energy ministry has endorsed an agreement between Energean Oil & Gas and Spain’s Repsol farming out 60 percent of the former’s exploration and exploitation rights to an onshore block in the Ioannina area, northwestern Greece.

Based on the agreement, signed last March, Repsol will also become the block’s operator.

At the time, the two firms had also reached a farming out agreement for a block in Etoloakarnania. This arrangement still needs to be endorsed in Greek Parliament before the energy ministry offers its approval.

Repsol intends to conduct a 2D seismic survey over the Ioannina block in 2017/2018 followed by an FTG airborne survey and a 2D geophysical seismic survey over the Etoloakarnania block in 2018/2019.

“Repsol’s know-how and Energean’s knowledge of the region undoubtedly reinforce the chances of new discoveries in western Greece and launch the development of the region into a new important reference point for the oil and natural gas sectors,” Energean Group Chairman & CEO Mr. Mathios Rigas had noted in the lead-up to this latest development.

The Ioannina and Etoloakarnania blocks, covering a total of 8,547 km2, are priority exploration targets for Energean and strategically important for the Greek oil and gas sector.

Repsol ranks as one of the world’s biggest listed oil and gas enterprises and operates one of Europe’s most efficient refinery networks. The company maintains business interests in over 40 countries and employs over 24,000 persons.

 

 

 

ELPE, ExxonMobil, Total eyeing blocks in Ionian, south of Crete

ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), ExxonMobil and Total officials are currently processing data in order to identify locations of interest with the objective of submitting an exploration and exploitation offer to the Greek State and EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, by August, as one consortium.

This expression of interest by the prospective consortium will prompt local authorities to launch a related tender.

According to sources, the three companies are focusing their interest in the Ionian Sea’s north, as well as south of Crete, all the way to the small island of Gavdos, Greece’s southernmost point.

As these locations are high-risk, high-cost deep-sea areas, ELPE will look to establish a consortium offering its partners fair shares for their demanding roles. ExxonMobil and Total are expected to take on shares of 40 percent each with ELPE holding 20 percent in the venture. Drilling ventures at waters of such depths are estimated to cost approximately 100 million dollars each.

ExxonMobil’s extensive experience in deep-sea exploration and financial strength were key factors in the interest shown by ELPE for the establishment of a partnership as the areas of interest are challenging, both technically and financially.

ExxonMobil has already purchased a package of seismic data produced following survey work conducted by Norwegian firm PGS three years ago.

Energean Oil & Gas also expressed an interest, yesterday, in the new round of offshore licenses expected to be offered by the Greek State. The company plans to capitalize on its expertise being gained at Israeli offshore blocks.

At this stage, it appears that Energean Oil & Gas and Repsol, currently conducting joint onshore exploration work in west Greece, at blocks in the Ioannina and Etoloakarnania areas, will attempt to broaden their venture to the sea extensions of these blocks.

 

 

Licenses for west Greece blocks to be signed on May 25

The two winning bidders for three onshore blocks in Greece’s wider western region have been invited to the energy ministry to sign finalized licenses on May 25, sources have informed.

ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) was declared the preferred bidder for two of these blocks, in northwest Peloponnese and Arta-Preveza, while Energean Oil & Gas won the rights for a third block in the Etoloakarnania area.

An international tender including these blocks was launched back in the spring of 2014 following interest expressed by Italian firm Enel, which eventually withdrew. The procedure ended in February, 2016, when the aforementioned two companies were declared the winning bidders for the three blocks.

Energean recently signed an agreement with Spain’s Repsol to farm out a 60% interest in its Etoloakarnania block as well as a license held for a block in Ioannina.

All three blocks – northwest Peloponnese, Arta-Preveza and Etoloakarnania – are believed to possess unexploited potential.

DEP, the Public Petroleum Company, an ELPE precursor, which had been awarded a license for the northwest Peloponnese area in 1978, conducted over 20 drilling efforts that were not followed through. The area was subsequently returned to the Greek State in 2007.

In 1981, DEP was awarded exploration and exploitation rights for Ioannina, Arta and Thesprotia, all located in the Epirus area, northwest Greece, and conducted geophysical research and eight drilling projects.

In the late 90s, a consortium headed by Triton, the now-defunct US oil and gas exploration and production company, also involving ELPE as a partner, conducted two fruitless drills in the Etoloakarnania area before the license was returned to the Greek State.

 

Repsol to acquire 60% stake in Energean west Greece blocks

Energean Oil & Gas has agreed to farm out a 60% interest in its Ioannina and Etoloakarnania blocks, onshore western Greece, to Spain’s Repsol. Repsol will also become the operator for both blocks.

The agreement is subject to the approval of the Greek Government and the signing of the Etoloakarnania License Agreement between Energean and the Greek Government.

The Ioannina and Etoloakarnania blocks, covering a total of 8,547 km2, are priority exploration targets for Energean and strategically important for the Greek oil & gas sector.

Confirming previous energypress reports, Energean released a statement today noting that agreements have been signed with Repsol for both licenses.

Commenting on the agreement with Repsol, the Energean Group Chairman & CEO, Mr. Mathios Rigas, noted: “We are delighted that Repsol has agreed to farm into Energean’s Ioannina and Etoloakarnania blocks, which represents a significant step forward for the development of the Greek oil and gas sector. Repsol’s expertise and Energean’s knowledge of the area’s geology will undoubtedly drive forward the possibility of making new discoveries in Western Greece, and developing this region as a significant new oil and gas province.”

Repsol plans to acquire a 2D seismic survey over the Ioannina block in 2017/2018, and to conduct an FTG and a 2D seismic survey over the Etoloakarnania block in 2018/2019.

Repsol ranks as one of the world’s biggest listed oil and gas enterprises and operates one of Europe’s most efficient refinery networks. The company maintains business interests in over 40 countries and employs over 24,000 persons.

Active in the entire chain of oil and gas activities including exploration, production, refining, transportation and development of new energy solutions, Repsol produces approximately 700,000 barrels per day while the refineries under its control can handle as many as 998,000 barrels of crude per day.

The company also operates 4,700 retail fuel and lubrication stations, the majority of these in Spain, where it is the market leader.