Greece to review offshore oil and gas tenders

Greece will review tenders offered on 20 offshore oil and gas blocks in the Ionian Sea and off southern Crete due to be signed by the end of the year, Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said on Tuesday.

Lafazanis said in a statement the new left-wing government would not stop a tender on three oil and gas blocks in western Greece for which bids on are due to be submitted on Friday.

But it would look again at the 20 offshore blocks.

The previous government of center-right Prime Minister Antonis Samaras invited bids on the blocks, which cover more than 200,000 square km, last year and expected bids by May this year with contracts signed by October.

Athens has tried to unlock big oil and gas reserves in the past with limited success. The debt crisis has revived interest in the process but the new left-wing government has made clear it will review major privatization deals.