Greece Will Not Extend 2nd International Licensing Round
The Greek Energy Ministry told Rigzone Tuesday that the July 14, 2015 deadline for oil and gas companies to tender for exploration and production blocks offshore Greece under the country's 2nd International Licensing Round will not be extended, despite Greece's uncertain future.
In a phone call, a spokesman at the ministry said that Greece's current financial crisis should not affect the process of the licensing round.
The confirmation from the ministry followed a recent report from corporate advisory firm GlobalSource, which claimed that the ministry was thinking about re-launching bidding operations for the 20 blocks available as part of Greece's 2nd International Licensing Round. After defaulting on a loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund and enforcing a crippling nationwide bank closure, the Greek government has agreed a new conditional, and controversial, bailout agreement with creditors that still needs to get through the country's parliament by July 15, 2015.
Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis previously announced that major Russian energy companies would participate in the upcoming tender for oil and gas exploration off the Greek coast, according to an article in Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini. The Greek paper also stated that Lafazanis met his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak and Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller during his trip to the Russian capital earlier this year.
Reuters reported April 20 that Greece had invited Chinese firms to bid in the round. The news agency said that the Greek Energy Ministry issued a statement saying Lafazanis had met with the Chinese ambassador to Greece, Xiali Zou, in order to discuss the issue, and Reuters also claimed the ministry confirmed that both countries have agreed to organize visits by Chinese businessmen to Athens to discuss technical details of the process.
In 2014, the Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change issued a call for tenders for the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons offshore Western Greece and south of Crete as part of its 2nd International Licensing Round. The latest hunt for hydrocarbons offshore Greece covers the Ionian and Mediterranean seas: areas where the Greek Ministry undertook an extensive 2D seismic survey during 2012-2014, in collaboration with Petroleum Geo-Services, in order to upgrade the level of data for the region.
The 20 blocks available in Greece's 2nd International Licensing Round are each more than 550 square miles in size and around half of these blocks are located along the Hellenic shelf of the Ionian Sea, with the other half dotted along the Greek region of the Mediterranean. The exploration stage is set to be divided into three phases and will last up to eight years, although companies have the option to extend this timeframe.
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