In a situation certain to raise tensions with neighboring Turkey, Greece has announced its intention to proceed with the development of its undersea hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.
To that end, Athens has already solicited tenders for seismic research in three areas of the Ionian Sea and in southern Crete. According to Greek Deputy Environment Minister Giannis Maniatis, the Israeli company Delek has already expressed interest in exploring off southern Crete.
When asked during an interview about the existence of hydrocarbons in Greek waters Maniatis replied, “The Ionian Sea has proved to be a good area while Southern Crete creates serious expectations. If we add to that the encouraging elements from the well-known maritime areas in northern Greece, then we can be optimistic. The Aegean is an unexplored area with little seismic research,” Kathimerini newspaper reported on 31 January.
When queried as to when the initial seismic research would be competed Maniatis noted, “Everything will be completed by next fall and the Greek public will receive a full package of all the facts. Immediately afterwards we will call a normal licensing round for research and exploitation in the area of the Ionian Sea and southern Crete, which will include 10-15 blocs. The first good source of revenue for the Greek public is expected during the licensing of the blocks in the Gulf of Patras, the Ionian Sea off Ioannina, and off Katakolo, which will be up for tenders during the next few days… The (speculative) assessments with regards to the specific areas mention 250-300 million barrels of oil or, to put it in another way, net revenue for the Greek public worth $15-20 billion over a period of 20-25 years. The country can expect to cover up to 30 percent of its overall oil needs from local sources.”
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com