Could Greek hydrocarbon concessions be a part of assets transferred to the “independent fund”?

The Energy Ministry announced that by the end of the deadline at midday Tuesday it had received only three bids for the concession of licenses for the surveying and utilization of hydrocarbons in 20 areas in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete.

The names of the bidding companies and the areas in which they are interested were not made public. The bids will remain sealed until investors submit the necessary letters of guarantee amounting to 100,000 euros per bid which cannot be issued while the banks remain closed. The tender proclamation dictated that letters of guarantee should be issued by Greek banks or foreign banks with a branch in Athens. The interest in the concessions was low, which is understandable given the international situation and the level of oil prices.

To overcome this legal issue, the ministry has decided to open those offers 10 working days after the banks open, so the only news coming from the ministry concerns the submission of just three bids. “This number can be considered as a positive step in the country’s effort to utilize its undersea wealth,” read a statement.

Recent surveys indicated the possible presence of substantial deposits in the areas south of Crete which will presumably form part of the national assets transferred to the Athens based asset management company which will be created as part of the new bailout deal with the lenders.

That is likely to be the Athens based Institution for Growth in Greece announced in 2012 by Schaeuble and Greek PM Antonis Samaras. In May 2014 an agreement was signed between Greek development minister Kostis Hatzidakis, and the European Investment Bank in the presence of Minister of Finance Yannis Stournaras but no assets changed hands because of the European elections and the subsequent general election in January 2015.

“The IfG is being launched at the initiative of the Hellenic Republic, with the guidance and support of KfW Development Bank of Germany (president W.Schaeuble) , the EIB Group (biggest shareholder Germany) and other investors” said the EIG representative.

One of the companies that had expressed an interest in the Greek hydrocarbon concessions is believed to be Hellenic Petroleum in cooperation with a major multinational, possibly France’s Total and/or Italy’s Edison. It is quite possible the same consortium submitted all three bids.