Greece Wants Foreign Energy Companies to Push Gas Hunt

ATHENS – Accelerating a timetable to get off dependency on Russian supplies, Greece wants foreign companies licensed to look for gas on land and off Crete to speed their drilling plans.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brought European Union sanctions but exempted buying energy because the bloc is so reliant on it, up to 40 percent of the needs, which has seen President Vladimir Putin use it as a weapon.

But at the same time the move to wean off Russian energy has seen Greece go back to using coal for years past a deadline when it was supposed to end later this decade, the New Democracy governments wants to find gas domestically.

State company Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management (EDEY) will talk to Greek and foreign investors awarded natural gas exploration rights in northwestern Greece and off the island to push the drilling, said Kathimerini.

EDEY managers said the investors will be informed of the new priorities and timelines, including the completion of seismic research by the end of 2023, at the latest but hopefully in the spring of that year.

Sources not named told the enwspaper that there is already keen interest from more prospective investors for those areas and any potential new spots that would be opened for exploration.

In the only land area leased out, to London-based Energean, the state wants exploratory drilling in a less than one acre plot to begin by the end of 2023 and production to begin by 2025, if enough reserves are found, buoyed by gas reserves found in neighboring Albania.

In Area 2, west for Corfu, leased to a consortium made up of Energean and Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE,) there will be immediate 3-D seismic exploration followed by exploratory drilling in 2024.

The target reserves are said to extend beyond Greek waters, which means that, if exploitable reserves are found, revenue will be shared with another country, the report said of the hopes.

In the Ionian Sea and the Kyparissiakos Gulf off the west coast of the Peloponnese, where HELPE has exclusive rights, 2-D seismic research has just been concluded, to be followed by analysis before proceeding with 3-D research, with research in selected spots in 2023 and drilling set for 2024.

In areas off Crete, which were licensed to a consortium made up of Total, ExxonMobil and HELPE, research has been delayed by environmental groups protesting the plan but the government still hopes for 2-D drilling this winter,

EDEY management said an estimate of 250 billion euros ($270.41 billion) from hydrocarbon exploitation is based on oil prices between $60–$70 per barrel.


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