Friday November 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
11o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
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 & Gas Summit in Larnaca last month.

Preliminary estimates made by experts commissioned by the Environment Ministry suggest a potential 22 billion barrels in the Ionian Sea off the coast of western Greece and more than 4 billion barrels in the Northern Aegean.

The area south of Crete is said to be particularly promising, while the Eastern Mediterranean, especially the area between Crete, Cyprus and Rhodes, is thought to be the location of sizable reserves of oil and natural gas.

However, Greece is one of the least explored countries in Europe as regards the search for fossil fuels.

Speaking to Kathimerini English Edition, Vassilis Kelessidis, professor of mineral resources at the Technical University of Crete, said that “petroleum geologists, both Greek and non-Greek, say that there is potential in Greece concerning hydrocarbons, oil and natural gas, and for the last couple of years we have been trying to have the Greek state speed up the process of exploration.”

Until now the offers for hydrocarbon exploration have concerned three blocks: The first is in the Gulf of Patra, the second off the coast of Katakolo -- both in Western Greece -- and the third at Ioannina, northwestern Greece.

Early estimates suggest that the Gulf of Patra may have 200 million barrels of crude oil, and that there are another 80 million at Ioannina and nearly 3 million off the coast of Katokolo.

Furthermore, according to the United States Geological Survey, in the sea between Crete, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, there are about 15 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and oil just waiting to be extracted.

Cyprus, which has already found vast reserves of natural gas -- 100 billion cubic meters, according to estimates -- could serve as an important example for Greece, particularly regarding how to exploit these reserves and help to solve the debt crisis that has now hit both countries.

Nicosia, which received 15 bids from international companies to develop nine offshore blocks, is now expecting to gain revenues from exports of oil and gas by 2019 or 2020.

Asked whether the discovery of hydrocarbons could be a way out of the crisis for Greece, Tsouraki said: “Yes, it could be in the near future. Once the political situation has been stabilized and the tension has alleviated, I believe that the right decisions are going to be made and Greece would be able to follow in the footsteps of Cyprus, which has recently discovered natural gas reserves.”

Exploiting these resources could prove a pivotal boost for Greece, which currently spends some 5 percent of its GDP on petroleum imports.

Although at the moment it is premature to make predictions, according to some oil experts, hydrocarbons beneath the seabed off the Greek coast could allow the country to repay almost all of its debt.

One estimate even suggests that exploitation of the reserves could bring in more than 302 billion dollars over 25 years.

Estimates alone mean nothing, though, unless Greece proceeds with the exploration and the identification of clear and detailed geological systems that meet the requirements for the generation and accumulation of oil.

[Kathimerini English Edition]

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday August 1, 2012 (19:10)  
Louis to bring third cruise ship to Greece
Current account surplus widens
Banks see light at end of bad loan tunnel
Reports point to economic recovery but also the risks
Greek police investigating suspected ISIS gun supply routes
Greek police are investigating reports according to which criminal rings are transporting weapons from Albania to Jihadists involved in Islamic State activities in Syria via Greece, Kathimer...
Venizelos, Papandreou agree to disagree over PASOK
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos is due to meet former Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday as he continues his efforts to generate a greater sense of unity in his party after holding tal...
Inside News
BASKETBALL
Big win for Greens, tight one for Reds
Panathinaikos scored a crucial as well as emphatic away win at Turow on Thursday that should see it qualify from its tough group to the top 16 of the Euroleague, while Olympiakos saw off vis...
SOCCER
Super League in disarray, lockout continues
The situation in Greek soccer is going from bad to worse, with accusations flying between club officials, the head of the Super League announcing he will quit on Monday and the leagues remai...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
‘Who lost Greece?’
If, by unhappy chance, Greece’s efforts to create a more efficient economy and more just society should fail, if it turns out that all our sacrifices were in vain, who will be to blame? The ...
COMMENTARY
Suicidal moves
In a country of complete inertia where virtual reality reigns supreme – ranging from Greece exiting the crisis to the country’s absolute destruction – the arbitrary dissemination of rumors r...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Big win for Greens, tight one for Reds
2. Louis to bring third cruise ship to Greece
3. Current account surplus widens
4. Banks see light at end of bad loan tunnel
5. Reports point to economic recovery but also the risks
6. Greek police investigating suspected ISIS gun supply routes
more news
Today
This Week
1. Current account surplus widens in September
2. House committee says LAOS chief should face charges
3. Papantoniou second ‘pothen esches’ trial postponed
4. Greeks not satisfied with living conditions, work, study finds
5. Evros municipalities damaged by floods
6. Teleconference for Hardouvelis and troika on Thursday
Today
This Week
1. Double quake on Atalanti fault line rattles Greek capital [Update]
2. Greece and Poland switch roles as young Greeks head to vibrant Eastern European country for better prospects
3. Constructively disrupting the Greek start-up ecosystem: What will the impact be?
4. Anti-junta uprising anniversary to be marked amid tight security
5. Carlsberg takes control of Greek brewer Olympic Brewery [Update]
6. Biden heads to Istanbul amid tension over Cyprus EEZ violation
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.