In the effort to utilize and exploit the country’s natural resources the Greek Government has recently reformed the institutional framework concerning the prospection, exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons by enacting Law 4001/2011 which modernises and clarifies the legal framework being in force by Law 2289/1995. Law 4001/2011 provides, among others, for the establishment of the Hellenic Hydrocarbons Management Company S.A. which is entrusted with the responsibility to manage the State’s exclusive rights with regard to the prospection, exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons.

Specifically, in accordance with Article 156§10 of Law 4001/2011, the rights for exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons are granted on behalf of the Greek State, either after an invitation to tender, or after submission of application by an interested party for an area which is not included in the invitation to tender, or after an open invitation (open door) for expression of interest, when the area for which the concession is requested is available on a permanent basis or has been the subject of a previous procedure which has not resulted in the conclusion of a lease agreement or a production sharing agreement or has been abandoned by contractor, in the case that he has withdrawn from the agreement or has terminated it.

In accordance with the open door procedure, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change has already published an international invitation for expression of interest for granting and using authorizations for the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in three areas in Western Greece (Ioannina, Golf of Patraikos and Katakolo). Interested natural or legal persons may tender independently or in groups for concession in more than one area. The rights will be granted by the conclusion of the Lease Agreement between the Ministry and the contractor. According to the applicable legislation, if commercially exploitable deposit is discovered, the contractor becomes with the disclosure to the lessor, lessee of the right to exploit the deposit, and is obliged and entitled to produce from that hydrocarbons or by-products and to dispose them as they are or after processing that does not include refining, by paying to the lessor the rent and the corresponding tax.

Edited by Tina Koutsopoulou