Eight of the world’s biggest seismic survey companies have expressed interest in investing about $40 million in exploring for hydrocarbons in Greece, sending a much-needed message of optimism for a Greek financial rebound.
The Energy Ministry confirmed on Friday that the bidders to conduct seismic and geological research for possible oil and natural gas reserves in four areas in western and southern Greece are US-based ION Geophysical, Norway’s TGS-NOPEC, Dolphin Geophysical and Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS), France’s CGGVeritas, Spec Partners, Spectrum Geo Ltd and Fugro Multi Client Services.
The participation in the first phase of the tender, which concerned the submission of binding offers, has exceeded all expectations, both in terms of numbers of bidders and in their profile, and illustrates the general interest of the global oil industry in Greece’s unexplored hydrocarbon reserves.
Speaking to Kathimerini, Deputy Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis, who is leading the government’s effort for the utilization of the country’s mineral wealth, said that “the submission of the binding offers for the tender constitutes a great message to both this country and abroad regarding the prospects opening up for the Greek economy.”
Market experts say that such interest has never been recorded before internationally, and that is because the usual practice is for direct concessions. However, Maniatis and his colleagues at the Energy Ministry have opted for an open international tender in a bid for complete transparency despite the risk of a very low number of expressions of interest. It was this very risk that had reduced expectations to no more than three or four bidding companies.
The Energy Ministry was brimming with satisfaction on Friday over the success of the tender, while Maniatis rushed to the Presidential Palace to inform President Karolos Papoulias of the development, following the latter’s invitation.
The interest expressed by the global industry’s most important companies bodes well for the interest to be expressed later when the drilling stage gets closer.