BUSINESS

Greece expects to OK bids for gas and oil exploration by mid-2015

Greece is expecting to accept bids for permits to explore for hydrocarbons in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete in the middle of next year, Environment Ministry sources told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Monday.

They said that bids regarding 20 blocks would be accepted in March and then reviewed over a three-month period.

“More than 10 international petroleum companies have expressed interest in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete, which is better than we expected,” Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis told Bloomberg last month.

“We now know for sure that there are hydrocarbons in Greece and that exploring for them makes economic sense.”

Maniatis was in London last week to discuss opportunities with companies that may be interested in investing in oil and gas exploration in Greece. He offered them tax breaks for their investments.

Under the plan, oil and gas explorers will pay 25 percent tax, down from 40 percent currently, and 5 percent of the tax will go to local communities.

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