ATHENS – “I am very happy that we are given the opportunity to make a fresh start and I want to repeat that when we speak of exploration in the natural gas sector, nobody can be certain of the result. We have indications that make us cautiously optimistic. We have to know with certainty whether there are reserves which are economically viable to extract. We will know it by the end of 2023,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined on Tuesday, during his visit to the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management company.
The premier said that in the new European environment, reducing reliance on Russian natural gas and the search for fossil fuel solutions that will guarantee sufficiency and better prices are the only road for Greece.
He clarified that this new road does not turn away from the long-term goal of reducing carbon emissions, while noting that a decision must be made on whether Greece will be a storage and transfer hub only or whether it will be a natural gas-producing country.
“Greece has a key role to play in the new energy landscape,” Mitsotakis said, adding that “we are here to announce another important choice, that of the producer country”.
Mitsotakis said that the government has announced the speeding up of processes for exploration and drilling of natural gas that Greece is likely to possess in substantial quantities on land and at sea, within exclusive zones of exploitation.
He explained that this concerns six areas, one in Epirus and five offshore regions, underlining that the Russian invasion, the rise in prices and plans to reduce reliance on Russian natural gas demand that Greece reconsider its strategy.
The premier said that the initial survey programme will conclude by the end of 2023 and the first exploratory drilling may take place before the end of the following year.
“If we have quantities that can be economically extracted we will replace imports with our national wealth,” Mitsotakis stated.