ECONOMY

Italy’s Edison to enter bidding for Greek hydrocarbons

Investor interest in Greek hydrocarbons is growing with the approach of the launch of the tender for the 20 blocks in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete.

After France’s Total, which was the first company to obtain the seismic data package, and British Petroleum, whose interest was personally expressed to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras by its head, Bob Dudley, during their recent meeting in Azerbaijan, Italy’s Edison has now made its interest in the Greek hydrocarbon reserves known.

Bruno Lescoeur, Edison’s chief executive, informed Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis that the Italian firm – controlled by Electricite de France – would enter the tenders for the blocks in the Ionian and south of Crete during a meeting between the two men at the company’s headquarters in Milan.

Edison said it had publicized an expression of interest, stating, “We have confirmed to the minister our commitment to hydrocarbon surveying, announcing the participation of Edison in the new round of concessions for surveys, as well as in the realization of the Interconnector Greece-Italy (IGI) and the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) natural gas pipelines that we jointly develop with DEPA [Public Gas Corporation].”

Kathimerini’s sources say that Edison will take part in the first round of concessions for blocks in the Ionian and the region south of Crete with a broad consortium that will include Hellenic Petroleum, which is already its partner in electricity production. Edison will also bid for the concession in the Patraikos Gulf for the surveying and utilization of hydrocarbons. The final lineup of the consortium will be determined by the contacts made with major oil companies over the last few months, while the same sources add that an alliance with a leading name in the global industry is very likely.

Maniatis has already expressed certainty about the presence of three very big oil companies in the tenders, without naming names. Recent reports regarding an acquisition of data on the blocks in the Ionian and the area south of Crete by Exxon Mobil have not been refuted. Kathimerini recently revealed the participation of BP, while there is talk in the market about data acquisition by Shell too.