Hellenic Moves Into Egypt with West Obayed Contract

Hellenic Petroleum S.A. has acquired hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation rights in West Obayed, Egypt.

Egyptian Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy and EGPC Chairman Abdel Aleem Taha signed a contract Wednesday with Hellenic's Managing Director, Panos Cavoulacos that grants the rights to the Greek company.

The West Obayed region of the Western Desert, which was awarded to Hellenic as operator, covers 1841 square kilometers and borders the Obayed region, where a gas field operated by Shell is in production.

Hellenic has committed itself to a total of seven years of exploration, with five drillings costing US$26 million. The first three years of the exploratory phase in West Obayed include the carrying out of seismic surveys and the drilling of three exploratory wells.

The signing ceremony was followed by the opening of Hellenic's branch office in Cairo in the presence of His Grace Nikodimos, Bishop of Nitrias, and by a reception attended by representatives of the business world, the Greek embassy and consulate and international companies that are active in Egypt.

During his speech at the end of the signing ceremony, Cavoulacos conveyed the greetings of the Chairman of the Board, E. N. Christodoulou, and noted that now the group's entrance into Egypt was official. He stressed this is the first time in Hellenic's history that it has undertaken the exclusive operation of a concession.

He also referred to the group's broader plans, which aim at the development of a portfolio of deposits and exploratory regions. This includes a concession – through a joint venture – in the Mesaha region of Upper Egypt, which is expected to be signed soon.

Cavoulacos concluded by pointed out that Egypt is a country with a stable business environment that supports investment by foreign companies, having yet enough opportunities in the field of hydrocarbon exploration and production.