Hellenic Petroleum brings up sensitive issues


Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is raising the resolution of issues related to the setting of exclusive economic zones (EEZs) with Greece’s neighbors and the lifting of bans on surveying beyond the 6-mile sea zone – which the Turkish Parliament has described as an act of “casus belli.” The settlement of these issues is an essential part of any planning for the utilization of the country’s hydrocarbons.

ELPE, which is set to form a consortium with oil giants ExxonMobil and Total, raised the aforementioned issues through its president, Stathis Tsotsoros, at an oil conference on Thursday organized by the union of ELPE employees.

Speaking about the national effort to utilize Greece’s hydrocarbons, Tsotsoros criticized the decades “of passive or low-priority handling of the matter by the Greek state and the competent authorities.” He then referred to the cause of the delays, saying that “there was no drafting of medium- or long-term road maps for the solution or settlement of the issues with neighboring countries in the context of international law.”

The ELPE chief noted that the EEZ issue is one through which ELPE will contribute toward the optimum use of existing reserves “through the planning and preparation of the necessary deliberations with neighboring states for the determination of the EEZ and the lifting of the ban on surveying work beyond the 6-mile maritime zone.”

ELPE’s position on the EEZ issue received negative feedback from market professionals who highlighted the seriousness of the matters and stressed that their handling is the exclusive responsibility of the Foreign Ministry and the prime minister himself. Of course everyone recognizes that the utilization of hydrocarbons requires the determination of the EEZ with the neighboring states. ELPE’s planned cooperation with ExxonMobil and Total to claim two blocks south and west of Crete, for which an application has been submitted to the Energy Ministry and an international tender is expected, is facilitated by the determination of the Greek and Egyptian EEZs.