The government is shifting its focus back to hydrocarbons amid the overall swing in Europe to new natural gas sources due to the crisis in Ukraine and the urgent need for disengagement from Russian fuel.
Last Saturday’s meeting under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with the participation of the heads of the Energy Ministry, the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management company (EDEY) and Hellenic Petroleum focused on whether there can be a feasible and realistic action plan for the completion of seismic surveys and drilling at the offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete, already conceded to oil companies.
The resumption of the program for the utilization of Greek hydrocarbons is meant to offer, for the first time, a full picture of the natural gas reserves in the two areas that remain unexplored and, according to EDEY, show significant potential.
Following Saturday’s meeting, EDEY will present to the PM this week the main direction of its action plan, whose key pillar, Kathimerini understands, is the reduction of the time required for the necessary licensing, from seismic surveys to drawing quantities.
The basic strategy in Europe on energy transition has not changed, so the lifespan of the hydrocarbons in the energy mix remains limited. EDEY estimates there is time for the development of the natural gas industry in Greece, particularly when taking into account that it took less that two-and-a-half years for the commercial utilization of the Zohr reserve in Egypt after the completion of the surveys.
Hellenic Petroleum appears to have a more reserved attitude, estimating that it takes at least five years for the full development of the reserves. The oil company has departed from the onshore concession and has focused on the Ionian and Cretan areas.
In any case, the government has to make decisions immediately as the clock is ticking, with hydrocarbon supporters stressing that the new conditions render their utilization necessary.