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Increased Israeli interest to invest in Greece’s privatization program, energy, tourism

The environment, energy, tourism and real estate sectors reportedly dominate interest by Israel-based investors eyeing business prospects in Greece, according to reports.

Greece’s embassy in Israel has mostly fielded requests by local companies interested in an ongoing privatization program in the still bailout-dependent country.

Solid and liquid waste management, a field in which Israeli firms have developed innovative technologies and protocols over recent years, also pique the interest of Israeli-based firms, followed by the robust tourism and holiday sector in the east Mediterranean EU member-state. Interest in non-tourism real estate and the IT sector has also been expressed.

Direct foreign investments from Israel in the Greek market have reached 33 million euros, based on the most recent information supplied by the Bank of Greece at the end of 2015, a figure judged as a very small percentage of the overall sum of Israeli investments abroad.

A troubled casino and resort in the seaside town of Loutraki (west of Athens proper) remains one of the biggest Israeli investments in Greece, followed by insurance services and renewable sources of energy.

Conversely, the entry of Greece-based Energean into the Israeli energy market was a milestone for Greek investments in the Mideast country.

Energean Oil & Gas and its partner Kerogen Capital on Tuesday submitted plans that call for spending up to $1.5 billion for developing the offshore Karish and Tanin gas fields and to get the first gas flowing in the year 2020.

“We will continue working closely with the Israeli government to obtain the required approval of the field development plan as soon as possible in order to be able to reach a final investment decision by the end of 2017,” Energean CEO Mathios Rigas said in a statement.

The Greek company said it would drill three wells at the Karish site, which is 90 kilometers offshore Lebanon, using a new floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit. The field will supply about four billion cubic meters of gas annually via a pipeline connecting it to the Israel’s natural gas transmission system.

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