Greece Launches Offshore Licensing Rounds
Greece’s government council for economic policy (KYSOIP) approved August 7 the launch of two new international offshore licensing rounds for oil and gas exploration in the Ionian Sea and waters to west of Crete. NGW Magazine had reported in early June that such rounds were expected.
It is not yet clear which blocks will be included in the new rounds, but indications are that most blocks declared in the 2014 licensing round will be included (see map below).
The energy ministry confirmed that the decision was taken in response to applications submitted in June by the consortium of Total, ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum which had expressed interest in areas southwest and west of Crete, and Energean’s interest in a block in western Ionian Sea.
Following approval by the energy minister George Stathakis, the tender terms are expected to be published in the Government Gazette in September. The ministry will then invite interested parties to submit tenders within 90 days of the date of publication of the invitation to tender in the Official Journal of the European Union. Tenders must be submitted to the Greek Hydrocarbons Management Company (EDEY).
At least ten international oil and gas companies have approached EDEY enquiring about the new licensing competitions. This renewed investor interest has also spurred the government into action.
The preferred type of concession contract is Lease Agreement, even though the option of Production Sharing Agreements still remains an option. However, KYSOIP is considering an immediate revision of the existing legal framework, with the key objectives of changing the Call for Proposals, improving the Model Agreement and accelerating the contractor selection procedures within 2017.
KYSOIP is also looking at upgrading EDEY and is coordinating with the energy ministry on the preparation of an institutional framework that could be implemented by the country’s National Wealth Fund, based on proposals by the previous government.
In support of the new tenders, EDEY is planning to launch a new series of seismic surveys by the end of the year, aimed at providing additional and more detailed survey data in the regions covered by the tenders. EDEY has already renewed its contract with Norwegian seismic survey company PGS for this purpose.
Offshore blocks in Greece’s 2014 licensing round (Map credit: Greek energy ministry)