By Chryssa Liaggou
The tender for the concession of blocks for oil and gas exploration will be issued in September and bids are expected for March 2015, according to Energy Ministry plans for the utilization of the countryís newly chartered hydrocarbon reserves. The ministry is aiming high regarding the expected bids, while oil companies are showing considerable interest.
The ministryís strategy provides for the attraction of medium-sized and large oil companies and for investorsí full commitment to offer a work schedule that will come complete with the equivalent collateral as well as the protection of environmentally sensitive areas in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete.
In an informal chat with reporters on Monday, Energy Ministry officials familiar with the issue said that the characteristics of the areas to be conceded for exploration, such as the great sea depths, require very large investments that cannot be covered by small firms. However, they added, smaller companies could enter the bidding process by forging alliances with bigger firms.
The ministry officials also described the international oil industryís response to the presentation of the Greek blocks in London a week ago as better then expected, placing emphasis on the participation of big players such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total, BP, Statoil, Eon, ENI and ENEL.
The representatives of those industry majors asked the Greeks to supply them with a specific timetable, clear terms and conditions and a transparent assessment system for the bids. They did not raise any issues over the size of the blocks to be conceded nor make any negative comments regarding the cost of the seismic data they need to acquire in order to prepare their bids, the same officials said in response to certain reports.
The ministry has decided not to include the area of the southern Ionian Sea where the sea depth reaches up to 2,500 meters in the blocks, as there is no internationally certified technology for drilling at such a depth.