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Greece’s State Oil Refiner Mulls Hunt Offshore, Crete for Gas Reserves

February 28, 2023

ATHENS – Greece’s decision to turn away from Russian oil supplies, which were exempt from European Union sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, may lead Helleniq Energy, the biggest oil refiner in the country, to explore offshore prospects for gas reserves. “All in all, we have a portfolio of offshore prospects which have been through the seismic works,” CEO Andreas Shiamishis told analysts. He added, “Effectively, we are in a position where we could see a decision for an exploratory well in the next 18 to 24 months,” according to a Reuters report. The country has indications of significant gas reserves, around 600 billion cubic meters, and accelerated seismic data collection through survey vessels in areas that potentially carry significant gas reserves in 2002.

Helleniq holds licenses to explore for oil and gas in four blocks in the Ionian Sea and off the island of Crete. The company has already conducted seismic surveys, as the New Democracy government hopes to tap the seas to produce more energy for the country as it weans off dependence on Russia.

Helleniq cited higher refining margins and exports for its quarterly profits of €261 million ($277.02 million) in the fourth quarter, up from €92 million ($97.65 million) in the same quarter of 2021. This figure excludes inventory holdings and a windfall tax imposed by the government.

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