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Energy market taken aback by Enel’s interest

By Chryssa Liaggou

The energy sector was surprised at Enel’s eagerness to learn about Greece’s hydrocarbon surveys, as the bulk of the Italian firm’s activity is focused on the production, transmission and distribution of electrical energy from conventional and renewable sources.

Rather, the local energy market had presumed that the Italian state electricity corporation would be far more interested in the privatization of Public Power Corporation (PPC), a view that solidified after Electricite de France, Enel’s main competitor in the European electricity market, expressed its own interest in the Greek power giant.

The Italian company is already active in Greece via its Enel Green Power subsidiary that is developing a program for the installation and operation of wind parks totaling some 450 megawatts. Enel Green Power is the group’s most dynamic and financially robust section internationally and besides its other interests in Greece has been studying the country’s geothermal domain, too. It is currently locked in negotiations with the Energy Ministry regarding the concession of geothermal fields beside the Nestos River in eastern Macedonia and has expressed an interest in becoming a strategic investor in the PPC concessions of the geothermal fields the Greek firm owns on the islands of Milos and Nisyros.

In any case, Enel’s interest in Greek hydrocarbons can only be viewed in a positive light. This is a large corporation that is active in 40 countries with installed power of 98,000 MW and 74,000 employees, boasting a client network of over 61 million consumers. However its activity in hydrocarbons is currently limited to Italy, where it is an operator in seven concessions, as well as Algeria and Egypt, where it is a non-operating investor.

According to Energy Ministry sources, the Italian company’s interest in the three Greek areas in Epirus and Western Greece is a part of its strategy to step up its activity in the southeastern Mediterranean. Without devaluing the significance of this interest, market professionals note that it would have borne more weight had it come from a major oil company.

The same professionals, who are closely monitoring the program for the utilization of Greek hydrocarbons, as well as investors who are participating in the open-door tender concessions, have observed a huge and risky gulf between the “public affairs management” and the effectiveness of actions to that direction. They speak of “many decision centers” and note the state mechanism’s inability to handle the investor interest that has already emerged as well as that expected as of June during the major round of concessions in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete. “All the work is currently being done by just three people at the ministry,” one investor said, stressing the need for the immediate manning of the Hellenic Hydrocarbons Management Company (EDEY).

Regarding Enel’s interest in the areas of Arta-Preveza, Aitoloacarnania and Achaia, Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis this week stated that he expects that the ministry’s responsible committee will soon proceed with the proclamation of the international tender. Investors will be able to declare their interest in those regions within 90 days.

Energean Oil & Gas, which controls the Prinos reserves in the northern Aegean and has emerged as the winning bidder in the tender for the concession of the reserves at Ioannina and Katakolo, will also be present in this international tender, as its chief executive Mathios Rigas has told Kathimerini.

ekathimerini.com , Friday April 25, 2014 (20:10)  
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