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Greece has ‘High Expectations’ from Gas Deposits Off Crete

Greece gas exploration
Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas spoke of “high expectations” from hydrocarbon exploration. Credit: AMNA

The government in Greece said Tuesday it has “high expectations” from the exploration of natural gas in the maritime area off Crete.

Greece began gas exploration starting with seismic surveys in November 2022 conducted by the ExxonMobil/HelleniQ Energy joint venture that owns the rights in the area with the Sanco Swift vessel, chartered by the Norwegian geophysical survey specialist PGS.

Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas spoke of “high expectations” from hydrocarbon exploration, adding that if exploitable deposits are indeed identified in the planned drilling, they could cover the gap in Europe’s energy supply.

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

Surveys for gas in Crete, Greece to be completed by end of February

The seismic surveys carried out in the areas west and southwest of Crete are expected to be completed by the end of February.

This will be followed by the examination of the data and, if the results are encouraging, exploratory drilling will follow in 2025.

At the same time, negotiations are underway for the possible entry of new investors into the exploration and exploitation schemes, Skrekas revealed.

Developments are also recorded in the area of Ioannina, where Energean is conducting surveys.

Gas exploration off Crete was announced by PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis during an interview with private broadcaster Antenna TV in November.

“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 remain 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.”

In July 2022, ExxonMobil and Greece’s biggest oil refiner HelleniQ Energy agreed to take over TotalEnergies’ share in two contracts for gas and oil exploration off Crete, after the latter pulled out.

ExxonMobil is the operator, owning 70% of the rights for looking for hydrocarbons off Crete. HelleniQ Energy holds the rest.

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