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Petroceltic Plans Oil Exploration in Greece, CEO O’Cathain Says

Petroceltic International Plc, an oil and gas company with operations in Egypt and eastern Europe, plans to explore for oil in Greece.

The company has made an application in the country for onshore and offshore blocks with Hellenic Petroleum SA and Edison SpA, Brian O’Cathain, chief executive officer of Petroceltic, said in a Dec. 21 telephone interview from Dublin.

“We made the application as a consortium,” Vasilis Tsaitas, an Athens-based spokesman for Hellenic, said by phone. Each partner has equal shares, he said, adding the government is reviewing the bids.

The onshore block is in Ipiros in the northwest of mainland Greece and the offshore field will be in Patraikos in the west, Tsaitas said. If the bid is successful, Hellenic will become the operator, he said.

Petroceltic, which in August bought Melrose Resources Plc for 165 million pounds ($267 million), plans to move to the main board of the London Stock Exchange in May, O’Cathain said. It is currently listed on AIM.

The company said last week it won approval from Algeria to develop the Ain Tsila gas and condensate field, which is expected to start production in 2017. It’s in talks for the sale of an 18 percent stake, O’Cathain said, declining to identify the potential buyers.

In Kurdistan, Petroceltic expects to start drilling at the Shakrok field in July and at Dinarta in October or November, O’Cathain said. The company has a 16 percent share in the blocks. The explorer is awaiting environmental approval for its project in Italy that may come early next year, he said.

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