Petroceltic expands into Greece with share of exploration licence

Dublin-based exploration company Petroceltic International has extended its southern European footprint into Greece, through the award of a share of a licence off the country’s west coast.

The Irish company forms part of a consortium — along with Greek energy company, Hellenic Petroleum and Italian player, Edison International — to have successfully bid for the under-explored Patraikos block offshore western Greece. Each firm will own a third of the asset, which is viewed as being potentially oil prospective, with a working hydrocarbon system already proven by discovery wells drilled just south of the block in the early 1980s.

Chiefly known for its presence in northern Africa and Italy, Petroceltic’s geographical footprint has grown in the past year — aided by its takeover of Scottish company, Melrose Resources — to include the Middle East and the Black Sea region of southern Europe.

“This represents a new country entry for the company in one of our core focus areas, where we are actively seeking to expand our exploration portfolio. We look forward to progressing the exploration programme on the block, in conjunction with our joint venture partners,” Brian O’Cathain, Petroceltic’s chief executive, said yesterday.

The consortium anticipates that the concession will be formally awarded in late 2013, following ratification and finalisation of the detailed concession agreement.

Situated in the Gulf of Patras and covering 1,892sq km, the new licence includes a three-year initial exploration period, followed by two optional extensions up to a maximum licence term of eight years.

According to Petroceltic, the work programme in the first three years of ownership will include geological studies and both 2D and 3D seismic data acquisition. The Dublin firm’s net financial commitment during this time will be around $3.5m (€2.7m).

The latter stages of 2013 are due to be a busy period for Petroceltic; with the firm due to finalise its latest farm-out deal regarding its Ain-Tsila gas field in Algeria; and its share listings being promoted from the secondary to the main exchanges in Dublin and London.

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