Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced Tuesday that hydrocarbon exploration will be accelerated and named six sites in western and southern Greece where concessions have already been granted for this purpose.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at a meeting on Tuesday that one land area and five sea areaswhere concessions for hydrocarbon exploration have already been granted in the past.
Mitsotakis made the announcement during a meeting at Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management.
Six sites, one of which is located in the northwest of the mainland, and five are located on the shelf northwest of the island of Corfu, in the Ionian Sea, in the Gulf of Kyparissia, Western Peloponnese, in the sea west and southwest of Crete, and in the regional unit of Ioannina, Epirus.
Near Crete, the exploration consortium consists of Total, ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum, while near Corfu, the Energean-Hellenic Petroleum, Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) consortium in the Gulf of Kyparissia and Energean in Ioannina operate.
Other land areas in western Greece where hydrocarbon exploration concessions were granted (Etoloakarnania, Arta, Preveza and the northwestern Peloponnese) were previously returned to the Greek State, while the coastal area in the western part of the Gulf of Patras, where studies have shown the presence of oil, is likely to will also be returned to the Greek state.
According to the Prime Minister, a special task force will be responsible for accelerating the country’s efforts to explore and develop potential oil and gas reserves.
Greece needs to have a clearer picture of its position by 2023 as it seeks to be a key part of a pan-European effort to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas and oil, Mitsotakis said.
He added that the government is “optimistic” and stressed: “If we have significant reserves, we will replace imports with our own national wealth.” The Prime Minister also said that “in addition to a country that can store (liquefied) gas, Greece can also be a country that produces natural gas.”
Associated Press notes that low oil and gas prices in recent years have caused a halt in gas exploration in the Ionian Sea of Greece and off the coast of Crete. But last week the government announced on plans to increase domestic coal production and expand its gas infrastructure to increase its natural gas liquefaction capacity with additional storage space at its existing facility Revithousa in Attica and plans to build two more.
The expansion will eventually allow Greece to export gas to its northern neighbors Bulgaria and North Macedonia, which are also heavily dependent on Russian gas.
It should be noted that the implementation of production, both oil and gas, is not a fast process and can take many years.