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Greece To Boost Gas Exploration Efforts To Cut Russian Dependence

Greece plans to step up efforts to explore for natural gas in an attempt to reduce its 40-percent reliance on Russian gas, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday.  

"Accelerating the exploitation of the country's national energy resources will allow us, if we are lucky and we have exploitable natural gas fields, to boost our energy independence, our energy security," Mitsotakis said, as carried by Reuters.  

The prime minister met with oil and gas industry officials and representatives of the Greek commission on hydrocarbons as the European Union and its members—including Greece—look to diversify their gas supply away from Russia in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The EU, overall, is dependent on Russian gas for over 40 percent of its supply. Greece is among the member states with high dependence on Russian supply and is looking for alternatives. Greece is part of the gas route from Azerbaijan to Italy via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

Greece has tried to explore its natural gas resources in the past, but a lack of political will stalled plans. Now, the EU and Greece are motivated to scour their own resources and non-Russian energy supply in an attempt to break the reliance on Russian oil and gas.

Greece also aims to be a hub for gas from the Mediterranean region and LNG imports.

"Greece has a significant potential to play as a renewable powerhouse, as an entry point for gas from the Eastern Mediterranean, either through pipelines, the EastMed project, or in the short term through LNG and we're talking to all parties involved. And of course we also want to move forward with strengthening our interconnections," Mitsotakis said last week during a meeting with EU Commissioner of Energy Kadri Simson.

Also last week, Greece said it would double its production of coal over the next two years in order to reduce the use of Russian natural gas.  

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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