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Newsletter April 2012


Energy Developments

Greece, Cyprus and Israel are scheduled to sign a memorandum of cooperation on energy issues.

Greece, Cyprus and Israel are scheduled to sign a memorandum of cooperation on energy issues at the end of March, Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou announced.
The Minister also announced plans for new tenders to conduct hydrocarbon surveys in 10-12 areas of mainland Greece in July, including Evros, Kavala, Serres, Thessaloniki, Grevena, Aitoloakarnania, Messinia, Achaia and possibly Crete.
The memorandum will refer to the possibility of linking up the electricity grids of the three countries and the prospects of cooperation in the transfer of natural gas that has been discovered or will be discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe via Greece, now that Greece has also begun searching for hydrocarbon fuels.
Mr. Papaconstantinou said that the situation emerging in Cyprus and Israel and the prospects for Greece were discussed during the last EU energy ministers' council, since it creates the potential for a third, alternative source of natural gas supplies for Europe, apart from Russia and the Caspian Sea.
The Minister said that the response to a tender to conduct seismic surveys in the Ionian Sea and waters south of Crete, the deadline for which expired last Friday, had exceeded all expectations.

A total of eight bids were submitted and their evaluation will be completed over the coming month with a view to signing contracts in April.
The data from the seismic surveys are expected to be evaluated by the end of the year and tenders for concessions to carry out exploratory drilling in up to 15 fields are due to be held by the first months of 2013.

In the meantime, the ministry has already launched a tender for the start of exploratory drilling in three areas that have already been surveyed and shown to have hydrocarbons—in the Patras Gulf, Katakolo and Ioannina, which contain estimated reserves of 200, 80 and 3-4 million barrels, respectively. The deadline for bids expires in July.

Mr. Papaconstantinou said that the government had agreed to extend the area covered by the contract with the company Energean, which currently exploits the Prinos oil fields in northern Greece, as well as the duration of the contract. He confirmed that Energean and the Italian company Edison will cooperate in conducting a study on creating an underground natural gas reservoir in one of the exhausted fields at Prinos.

March 6, 2012

Chinese “Cooperation Bridge” with Patras
Chinese Ambassador Do Ki Yen visited the port city of Patras on March 26 where he was briefed on the economic, social and cultural level of the region of Western Greece.

The Chinese Ambassador underlined his country's interest in developing cooperation and partnership relations with Western Greece, stressing that the Chinese embassy in Greece can be a cooperation "bridge" for the development of these relations.

The Ambassador was briefed by vice Development Regional Governors George Angelopoulos and Economy George Georgiopoulos.

March 27

Greece and Switzerland Sign Memorandum
Greece and Switzerland on March 25 signed a memorandum of cooperation on energy and environmental policy, designed to promote closer cooperation in the exchange of knowhow and making investments. The agreement was signed by Greek Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou and Swiss Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications Minister Doris Leuthard in Berne.

During a meeting prior to signing the agreement, Ministers Papaconstantinou and Leuthard discussed the Helios solar power programme in Greece and developments concerning natural gas pipelines in the area, particularly the South Corridor and other new prospects arising through hydrocarbon exploration in the southeastern Mediterranean.

The Swiss side expressed strong interest in the Helios programme, and there was also extensive discussion on cooperation in the area of energy conservation.

In statements after the meeting, Mr. Papaconstantinou emphasised the potential for cooperation between Greece and Switzerland, which he said was now in the process of shifting its energy policy toward energy conservation and reducing its carbon footprint.

He also noted that Greece's efforts to restructure its economy were gaining recognition and that confidence in the country was gradually being restored, with greater interest expressed both by national governments and private investors.

"This interest was confirmed in the context of contacts with representatives of Swiss businesses organised by the [Swiss] Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications Ministry that are either already active in our country in the energy sector or are interested in making new investments in Greece."

March 27

Tethys Ocean BV raises stake in Dias Aquaculture
Tethys Ocean BV raised its equity stake in Dias Aquaculture to more than 50 percent and has pledged to purchase another 5.6558 percent in the Greek company by March 15.

Dias Aquaculture, in an announcement, said that Tethys Ocean BV, owned by Georgian investor Kakha Bendukidze, raised its equity stake in the company to 50.2894 percent from 30.40 percent after a transaction made on March 1, 2012.

Tethys Ocean BV is a fully-owned subsidiary of Linnaeus Capital Partners BV, which is fully owned by IIHC Industrial Investments Ltd. in which Bendukidze has a 74.30 percent majority stake. 

March 7, 2012

Vodafone to Continue Investing in Greece
“Vodafone is not affected by the very difficult economic situation in Greece and will continue to invest in the country, supporting the economy and offering innovative products and services to subscribers to the benefit of customers, workers and its partners,” Vittorio Colao, the chief executive of Vodafone group, said during a working visit to Athens on March 1.

March 2, 2012

Tender for DEPA, State-owned Gas Company
Greece on February 29 launched an international tender for the sale of DEPA, the state-owned gas company, as part of an ambitious privatisation programme.

The Greek state has a 65 percent equity stake in DEPA and Hellenic Petroleum SA has the remaining 35 percent. Both shareholders and the State’s Private Property Fund have agreed to jointly sell their stakes in DEPA. Under the terms of the tender, all interested parties will submit bids on a bundle or unbundle basis and stressed that the state will retain 34 pct of DESFA, the gas grid operator.

The tender procedure is scheduled to be completed in August 2012.

DEPA is active in the wholesale, trading and supply of gas both to retail and industrial clients and participates in international gas pipeline projects, such as the Greece-Italy project (ITGI), the Greece-Bulgaria project (IGB) and the SouthStream project.

UBS Ltd, NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd and Alpha Bank Α.Ε. will act as financial advisors to the sale, while Clifford Chance LLP and Koutalidis Law Firm will act as legal advisers.

March 1, 2012

Greece-Germany Tourism Investment Potential
Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Giorgos Nikitiadis coordinated the Hellenic German Forum on tourism held on February 6 at the German Bundestag in Berlin.

The meeting produced positive messages regarding German interest in investing in the Greek tourism sector.

Participants decided to establish two working groups, comprising representatives of the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) and private entrepreneurs, that will focus on the promotion of the tourism sector while seeking new tourism destinations.   

The forum was held under the auspices of the presidents of the Greek and the German national parliaments, co-organised by the Bundestag tourism committee and the Greek embassy in Berlin.

Eldorado to Acquire European Goldfields and Create the Leading Growth Oriented Intermediate Gold Producer
Eldorado Gold Corporation (TSX:ELD, NYSE:EGO, ASX:EAU) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with European Goldfields Limited, pursuant to which Eldorado has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of European Goldfields by way of a plan of arrangement under the Yukon Business Corporations Act.

European Goldfields is a precious metals development company with attributable gold reserves of 9.2 million ounces and multi-stage assets located in Greece, Romania and Turkey. The company currently operates the Stratoni mine in Greece and is developing the Skouries and Olympias projects in Greece and the Certej project in Romania. European Goldfields is also partnered with Aktor SA, the largest construction company in Greece.

The deal will create a premier high growth, low cost intermediate gold producer with a combined market capitalisation of approximately C$11 billion. It also strongly enhances Eldorado’s project pipeline and globally diversifies European Goldfields’ existing development projects with high quality mines and near-term producing projects.

Commenting on the deal, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eldorado, Paul Wright, said, “We are extremely pleased to have reached this mutually beneficial transaction with European Goldfields. Integration of European Goldfields’ business with our own will provide Eldorado with the dominant gold mining business in the Aegean Region and the combined business will constitute the leading low cost, high growth intermediate gold producer globally. We are particularly pleased to be partnering with Aktor, Greece’s largest construction company, to help ensure effective, safe and timely development of our operations in Greece.”

Multilateral RES Agreement
A cooperation agreement in support of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) was signed on January 26 between Greece, Germany, Spain, and Slovenia, within the framework of the International Feed-In Cooperation meeting. Through this agreement Greece formally becomes a member of the international initiative aimed at promoting the use of clean energy sources.

The declaration was signed by Environment Minister George Papaconstantinou, who underlined that an effort is being made focusing on the promotion of investments that contribute to Greece’s economic and environmental recovery.

Mr. Papaconstantinou stressed that the success of the initiatives already undertaken is reflected by today’s RES produced energy, which amounts to roughly 2.4 GW, up 28 percent in the first nine months of 2011.

The International Feed-In Cooperation is a joint project between Germany, Spain, Slovenia and now Greece. The four countries are convinced that feed-in tariffs are most suitable to effectively and efficiently promote renewable energies for the generation of electricity.

A feed-in tariff is a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies. This is achieved by offering long-term contracts to renewable energy producers, typically based on the cost of generation of each technology. For instance, technologies such as wind power are awarded a lower per-kWh price, while solar PV and tidal power are offered a higher price, reflecting higher costs.

January 27, 2012

China and Greece Cooperation in Research and Technology
Then Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou and the Chinese Ambassador in Athens, Du Qiwen, on January 19 signed a proclamation between China and Greece for research and technology. Mrs. Diamantopoulou said China and Greece are inaugurating a new period to further strengthen bilateral relations by boosting scientific and technological cooperation, cooperation between universities, and the promotion of the Greek language. Funding of each programme will not exceed 400,000 Euros and will be completed in three years.

January, 20, 2012

Greece and the United Arab Emirates signed a memorandum of understanding in the tourism sector, envisaging the promotion of mutual tourism packages through the exchange of information and advertising materials, partnerships between travel agencies from the two countries and, in particular, special forms of tourism, such as agri-tourism, cultural tourism, cruises and others. The memorandum also cites closer cooperation in tourism education and training.

January 12, 2012

Announcement for Hydrocarbon Extraction
On January 2, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA) invited investors through an Open Door process to bid to exploit hydrocarbon reserves in three blocks estimated to hold around 250 million barrels of oil. The first two blocks, Patraikos Gulf and Katakolo, are located off the western coast, and the third block - Ioannina – is in the northwest of the mainland. Investors must submit offers by July 2.

Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA) George Papakonstantinou, said, regarding the process:
"Reducing the energy dependence of the country and securing the energy supply make an energy policy necessary that strongly promotes the development of domestic energy sources. Given the direction of development of renewable energy sources, the efforts of the government for the exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits of Greece are an integral part of this strategy. With today's call another important step is taken in this direction. "

Deputy Minister Mr. John Maniatis, said: "We start with the first round of three concessions as we had announced. Along with the ongoing invitation to tender for seismic surveys in the Ionian Sea south of Crete and the establishment of the Hydrocarbon Research Agency, which was established last August, we managed in four months to fill the void of a fifteen-year standstill in this sector. We are confident that this notice will attract the interest of major companies in the international oil market. With transparency, speed, efficiency and respect for the environment we will utilise all the natural resources of the country."

January 2, 2012
Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change