Greek PM heralds acceleration of hydrocarbon exploration – Task Force for the development of concessions research

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday announced the government’s intention to accelerate efforts to explore and exploit potential oil and gas reserves.

Greece, he told a meeting of energy officials, should have a clearer picture of where it stands by 2023, as it seeks to form a key part of a Europe-wide effort to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas and oil.

The research is set to focus on six on- and offshore areas in Western Greece and west of Crete in the southern Aegean, Mitsotakis said, adding that the government is “optimistic.”

“If we do have significant reserves, we will replace imports with out own national wealth,” he said.

Addressing the same meeting, Energy and Environment Minister Kostas Skrekas said that new legislation will be introduced to allow this acceleration to take place. He also announced the creation of a special task force to that end.

According to sources, interest seems more strongly focused on the offshore reserves, while the new legislation facilitating their exploitation will be designed along similar lines to Egypt’s regulations.

In a recent report citing new studies by Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management SA (HHRM) and the Athens Academy, the nongovernmental Institute of Energy for Southeast Europe (IENE) argued that if just a quarter of the planned drills in the Ionian Sea and west of Crete are successful, Greece may be looking at deposits of 70-90 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which would cover 15-20% of the European Union’s annual consumption.

IENE also reiterated HHRM estimates that Greece’s reserves may be worth as much as 250 billion euros.