A consortium comprised of Total, Edison and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) is expected to be granted an exploration and exploitation license for offshore Block 2, west of the Ionian island Corfu, very soon – possibly within the next few days, definitely within the current month.
Procedures entered the home stretch last week when a supervisory committee completed a pre-contractual inspection, offering its approval for the Block 2 agreement.
The process dates back to 2014 when Block 2 was offered to investors as part of a wider international tender. Participants submitted offers in 2015 and, last year, the Total-Edison-ELPE consortium was declared a preferred bidder for hydrocarbon exploration work at the offshore block west of Corfu.
The agreement expected to soon be signed will require Parliamentary approval before the consortium can start work. The team’s effort will begin with new seismic surveys whose sharper data should provide greater detail to help determine drilling locations.
Authorities have high hydrocarbon deposit hopes for Block 2 and the area west of Corfu. Scientists believe the region shares similar geological traits to a geological zone off Italy, where considerable oil deposits have already been identified. The upcoming survey work at Block 2 promises to determine this theory’s validity.
France’s Total, one of the world’s biggest oil compamies, is heading the Block 2 consortium. Italy’s Edison, a partner in the venture, is a member of the EdF corporate group, also French.
Barring unexpected developments, the first round of drilling should take place in approximately three to four years, around 2020 or 2021.
According to forecasts based on existing seismic survey data, Block 2 could contain a deposit amounting to two billion barrels.