Total-ExxonMobil-ELPE Crete plot to be ratified in autumn

A consortium comprised of Total, ExxonMobil and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) has been declared the preferred bidder in an international tender offering two offshore plots, west and southwest of Crete, the energy ministry has announced, paving the way for the ratification of contracts in parliament in autumn.

The procedure is expected to be far swifter than past efforts for other licensing arrangements. The appraisal procedure for offers submitted by the consortium  was swift. It began in March.

Officials at EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company, explained that previous local experience gained by Total in its bid for Block 2 off Corfu, as part of a consortium involving Edison and ELPE, offered guidance to the petroleum firm in this tender.

EDEY is expected to complete meetings with the Total-ExxonMobil-ELPE consortium for the finalization of licensing agreement details by the end of this month.

The same goes for a third offshore plot in the Ionian Sea. An offer made by Repsol and ELPE is still being appraised but officials are close to completing their task, sources said. Both consortiums submitted their bids for the three blocks in early March.

The Crete and Ionian Sea offers could end up being submitted to parliament concurrently.

In comments to media, a highly ranked EDEY official said swift licensing procedures for the three offshore blocks would serve to boost investor confidence  and elevate ensuing Greek hydrocarbon tenders as more attractive prospects.

The foreign petroleum firms involved in these offshore Greek tenders maintain hydrocarbon interests all over the world and will inevitably make comparisons on bureaucratic efficiency.

Much work still lies ahead to determine the actual hydrocarbon prospects of the three offshore blocks. Drilling must first take place before first signs of any hydrocarbon prospects can emerge. The preliminary stage, in preparation of the drilling ventures, is expected to last about six years.

EDEY wants to stage complementary geophysical research to gain higher-density offshore images south of Crete. This could make the area more appealing for oil firms.

Norway’s PGS, which has conducted previous seismic surveys for EDEY, will need advance payments covering at least part of the cost for such additional scans.

Petroleum firms are not expected to approach Greek plots south of Crete unless the Greek state takes on preliminary exploration costs.