|Minister Giorgos Stathakis (left) with Energean's Mathios Rigas|
The government has sent a positive message to the global oil industry just days after ExxonMobil and Total officials visited Athens. Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis on Thursday signed concession agreements for the onshore blocks in Arta-Preveza and the northwestern Peloponnese with Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), and in Aitoloacarnania with Energean Oil & Gas. These agreements had been pending since February 2016.
Stathakis announced that the government will soon also sign the concession contracts for the Ionian 2 offshore block with the Total-Edison-ELPE consortium and for the Ionian 10 block with ELPE.
He indirectly confirmed the interest of ExxonMobil and Total in Greek hydrocarbons: “We have also started a round of talks with international oil companies for other areas besides the Ionian Sea,” he said.
He went on to announce that after the acquisition of new seismic data and the reprocessing of old data – a project that Hellenic Hydrocarbons Resources Management SA will undertake – the ministry intends to gradually announce tenders for other onshore and offshore blocks.
During the signing ceremony, the minister said the interest of oil multinationals in Greek hydrocarbon surveying constitutes a vote of confidence in the Greek economy, and added that the ministry is about to supplement the institutional framework on hydrocarbons by taking into account best practices of other states such as Cyprus. In this context, he said, an effort will be made to drastically reduce the time between the expression of interest and the signing of contracts. However, Stathakis noted, the ministry will not compromise its policy to adhere to all environmental rules in hydrocarbon surveying.