Greece has energy deposits that could be worth 150 billion euros in state revenue over the next 30 years, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Wednesday.
"There are very strong indications... that over the next 25-30 years, state tax revenue from (hydrocarbons) could reach 150 billion euros ($206 billion)," Samaras told reporters at the energy ministry.
The cash-strapped Greek state hopes for a windfall from hydrocarbon caches which it believes lie in the Ionian Sea and near Crete.
The gulf of Patras is thought to hold some 200 million barrels of crude oil, while another 50-80 million barrels are believed to lie near Ioannina and another three million barrels near Katakolo.
Greece in 2012 picked a Norwegian contractor to carry out seismic surveys in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete in search for oil and gas.
Drilling contracts for the region are to be issued later this year.
"We are completing the concession agreements for the gulf of Patras and Ioannina, where the indications are strongest, and they will be tabled for ratification by parliament," Samaras said.
State proceeds from the concession are to be used to support the country’s struggling pension funds, and for scientific research, Samaras said. [AFP]