Greece signs contract for hydrocarbon exploration in the Ionian Sea

The signing of a concession contract for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation in Block 2 in the Ionian Sea is a vote of confidence in the Greek economy, Environment and Energy Minister George Stathakis said on Tuesday.

The contract was signed during a special ceremony at the Stavros Niarchos Culture Center by Stathakis, Total’s vice-president Bernard Clement, Edison’s vice-president Maurizio Coratella and Hellenic Petroleum’s deputy CEO Andreas Siamisis. The three companies have a 50 pct, 25 pct and 25 pct share in the consortium, respectively.

Stathakis said Greece has integrated all European directives on hydrocarbon exploitation and followed the highest international standards, both for protecting human resources and safety and for the protection of the environment. He added that the government was expected to launch tenders for hydrocarbon exploration in the Ionian Sea and southwest of Crete, noting: “The timing today is different. The southeastern Mediterranean is at the epicenter of investors’ interest, following hydrocarbon findings in neighbouring countries.”

Total’s vice-president said the prospect was positive but realism was necessary since no one has ever carried out exploratory drilling in the region. He also expressed hope that the contract would be ratified by the Greek Parliament before the end of the year.

Hellenic Petroleum Chairman Stathis Tsotsoros said that the contract certified the group’s ability to support endeavours of this magnitude, while Edison’s vice-president presented the company’s presence in Greece, particularly in electricity production and supply, natural gas pipelines and hydrocarbon research.

Block 2 is located 30 km west of Corfu. The exploration period will last eight years, with an extension option. The Greek state will collect 500,000 euros with the signing of the contract and 1.5 million euros as compensation.