Could oil and gas discoveries solve Greece's problems?

By Gabriel Frangoulis

Many countries would like nothing more than to discover reserves of oil and gas, giving them energy independence and a source of wealth. Greece is no different.

There?s been a lot of hype about the possible existence of hydrocarbon reserves in the nation's Aegean and Ionian seas and in the country?s northwest, both by politicians and the media.

By the end of this year, we should have a much better idea of whether there is a grain of truth to these claims of hidden Greek wealth. The government is ready to kick-start the exploration process after several geological surveys suggested that the country?s territory could indeed be hiding hydrocarbon deposits.

Last month the Environment and Energy Ministry announced that it had received eight offers from 11 domestic and foreign companies for hydrocarbon exploration rights.

?Greece has one of the largest refining capacities in the Balkans, as well as one of the most strategic geopolitical locations in Europe, with an impeccable shipping industry that can actually provide Europe with natural gas,? said Chryssa Tsouraki, one of the organizers of the Cypriot-Greek Oil