ECONOMY

Aegean Energy says ELPE sank plans

Aegean Energy, the country’s only operator of oil and gas production, is turning to growth opportunities abroad after its $200 million investment plan ran into a brick wall in northern Greece. Aegean Energy, which operates three oil wells off the northern port city of Kavala, has been stopped from drilling for oil in the Thracian Sea despite getting Greek government permission to do so, according to a senior company source. Concession rights to the sea area on the Greek-Turkish border are jointly held by Canada’s Calfrac Well Services and Greek oil refinery Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE). «For some incomprehensible reason ELPE has refused to transfer its minority concession rights but Calfrac has,» the source told Kathimerini English Edition. «The Greek government also gave us the green light after conducting five months of due diligence on us.» The local press has cited ELPE sources as saying that the oil operator did not offer the necessary financial guarantees for the project. Aegean Energy intends to take the matter to court. Aegean Energy now expects to focus its five-year $200 million investment plan beyond Greece’s borders for growth opportunities. The Egyptian government awarded a concession to Aegean Energy before Christmas to drill for and produce oil in the Gulf of Suez, the source added. Greece, which imports almost all of its oil, is considered to have one of the least explored hydrocarbon reserves in the Mediterranean, trailing countries such as Albania, Turkey and Cyprus.