Greece Plans Oil Search Invite in Second Half, Official Says

Greece is planning to invite investors to bid for permits to explore for oil and natural gas in the Ionian Sea, off the country’s west coast, and south of the island of Crete in the second half of this year.

The country has set a June target to send the invitation for publication in the European Union’s Official Journal, Sofia Stamataki, president of the Hellenic Hydrocarbons Management Company SA, said in answer to e-mailed questions.

The invitation will include all terms and details as well as required supporting documents and a map of exploration blocks, she said. The state-owned agency is responsible for organizing exploration and production tenders, evaluating offers and selecting winners.

Greece wants to exploit potential hydrocarbon reserves as part of efforts to boost growth in a country where the economy has shrunk by one fifth amid a six-year recession that has left more then one in four adults without a job.

An initial evaluation of seismic survey data for oil and natural gas in the Ionian and south of Crete shows geological structures similar to oil-producing areas in southeastern Italy and Albania, the Greek Energy Ministry said Jan. 29.

“When the invite is published, which usually takes one to two months, the submission period for offers begins and this will be for a minimum of 90 days after the publication date,” Stamataki said.

Industry Reaction

Initial reaction from oil companies at a recent exhibition in Houston was that the quality of the data was “excellent,” Stamataki said. “We are very optimistic.”

Greece will present the seismic data at the Appex Global 2014 conference, organized by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, in London on March 11-13, she said.

“The number of blocks to be offered will be finalized after completion in the next two months of the interpretation and petroleum assessment study as well as the strategic environmental assessment report,” Stamataki said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Tugwell in Athens at ptugwell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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