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Greece to Start Gas Exploration Off Crete ‘Within Days’

Greece Gas Exploration
The Sanco Swift vessel will start surveys for gas west of Crete “in the coming days.” Credit:

On Monday, Greece announced that Exxon Mobil will start a gas exploration project southwest of the southern Peloponnese peninsula and the island of Crete.

The U.S. energy giant will start seismic exploration “in the coming days,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told private broadcaster Antenna TV.

“The discovery of natural gas there, as we hope for, would contribute to the energy security of the whole region,” he said.

Mitsotakis insisted that Greece remains dedicated to a “fast green transition,” but he added that the nation “must ascertain whether it currently has the ability to produce natural gas, which would contribute not only to [its] own energy security but also to that of Europe.”

Results of gas exploration off Greece to be known by end of 2023

Mitsotakis said in April that the country plans to speed up exploration for gas reserves to replace Russian gas with indigenous resources. The country aims to have a clear idea by 2023 on whether it has gas reserves it could tap into.

“We have indications that make us cautiously optimistic,” Mitsotakis said. “We have to know with certainty whether there are reserves that are economically viable to extract. We will know…by the end of 2023.”

“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,” he added.

Greece gas exploration
The areas west and southwest of Crete where Exxon Mobil will conduct surveys for gas. Public Domain

The surveys will be conducted by the Sanco Swift vessel, chartered by the Norwegian geophysical survey specialist PGS, which is currently moored on Crete. The vessel offers an up-to-date platform for a broad range of seismic operations. It is fully equipped for 3D broadband seismic, using GeoStreamer technology.

Referring to the possible extension of Greek territorial waters to twelve nautical miles south of Crete, as brought forward by the main opposition party Syriza, Mitsotakis said they will never rule out a such move.

Reiterating that they do not recognize the deals between Turkey and Libya on the demarcation of their respective exclusive economic zones and joint exploration of the natural resources, he said Libya is Greece’s natural interlocutor.

As such, Greece wants to demarcate its maritime borders with Libya and eventually jointly explore possible hydrocarbon reserves in the area between the countries, he added.

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