During a visit to the Environment and Energy Ministry on Tuesday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras announced that Athens will be setting up a National Hydrocarbon Company in the coming weeks, further noting that accelerating the procedures for drilling constitutes “a major comparative and geopolitical advantage for Greece.”
Following his meeting with the ministry’s leadership, where the focus was on the program for utilizating Greek hydrocarbon reserves, Samaras stressed the need for the program to form part of the new European energy networks and highlighted the significance that would have in shielding Greece’s economy and energy autonomy.
The prime minister went on to speak about strategic alliances with international surveying companies, placing particular emphasis on research beneath the seabed of the Ionian and south of Crete. “The major interest being displayed by foreign companies in other regions [than the ones already surveyed] illustrates the confidence of market players abroad in our country,” he said.
Samaras’s intervention in the hydrocarbons issue comes just before the awarding of the tenders for the concession of the hydrocarbon-rich regions at Ioannina, Katakolo and the Patraikos Gulf – all in western Greece. The opening of the binding offers of the six consortiums vying for the three regions – two in each – has already started and the candidates are locked in negotiations with the 17-member Evaluation Committee.
For the region of Ioannina, the offers are from Energean Oil – a Greek company that taps reserve at Prinos in the northern Aegean – and from Chariot Oil & Gas, which is based in the Channel Islands and specializes in oil surveying in Namibia and Mauritania.
The bidders for the reserves at Katakolo are the consortium made up of Energean Oil, Britain’s Trajan Oil and US-based Schlumberger, and Cyprus-based Grekoil Energy Ventures.
The Energean Oil – Trajan Oil – Schlumberger consortium is also bidding for the region in the Patraikos Gulf and faces competition from the consortium comprising Hellenic Petroleum, Italy’s Edison and Melrose, a British company that was acquired last summer by Irish company Petroceltic.