The legality of exploration and exploitation licenses concerning three onshore blocks in Greece’s wider western region has been endorsed by the Court of Auditors, a Supreme Adminstrative Court also playing a key administrative role.
Prior to this development, 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.
The Court of Auditors endorsement means that it could now be just a matter of weeks, even days, before the energy ministry summons the winning bidders to sign license contracts. These will then need to be taken to Greek Parliament for ratification.
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.
Less than a fortnight ago, Energean announced it has agreed to farm out a 60% interest in two blocks – the Etoloakarnania block being one of these, along with a block in Ioannina, onshore western Greece – to Spain’s Repsol.
It should be pointed out that the Arta-Preveza block awarded by the energy ministry to ELPE has been disputed by Energean, a fellow bidder, which took its case to the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court. An initial trial date set for April 4 has been postponed until October.