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Greece to Take 3 Months to Evaluate Oil, Gas Bids, Official Says

Greece will take three months to evaluate investor offers for the right to search for oil and gas in 20 blocks in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete once the bids are submitted, an Energy Ministry official said.

Greece wants to keep to strict time lines and intends to sign licensing contracts straight after completion of the evaluation process, the official said on condition of anonymity as the information hasn’t yet been made public.

The Mediterranean nation will send the invitation to investors for publication in the European Union’s Official Journal in the next few weeks, with investors expected to submit the first bids in around six months, the official said.

Greek officials met with representatives of about 40 large and smaller oil and gas producers, including Total SA, Enel SpA, Chevron Corp., BP Plc and Noble Energy Inc. in London last week to present the blocks, the official said.

The discovery of natural-gas reserves in Cyprus and Israel has increased investor interest in opportunities in Greece for hydrocarbon exploration, the official said.

Companies can make single or multiple bids as individual entities or as part of ventures, a process that will enable smaller outfits to participate in the bidding process, the official said.

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