Greece takes steps to strengthen drill rights

In a step toward determining its sovereign rights over possible hydrocarbon deposits in its underwater areas, Greece has harmonized legislation with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Kathimerini understands.

Athens reportedly informed the UN last May of its position in regard to the delineation of the continental shelf, reserving the right under Law 4001/2011 to explore for hydrocarbon deposits “on land, in lakes and in underwater areas over which the Hellenic Republic has sovereign rights under the provisions of the 1982 UNCLOS.”

Athens is paving the way for seismic surveys to be conducted in the Ionian Sea, off Crete and in parts of the southeast Aegean, a move that would require it to declare an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) 200 nautical miles from its shores, or half the distance from its neighbors’ shores. Turkey wants bilateral negotiations on the issue.

Diplomatic sources suggest that Ankara has yet to submit a document to the UN outlining its position on the delineation of the continental shelf and its territorial waters.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu commented Monday that if Greece defined its maritime economic zones, “Turkey would take corresponding steps.”