ENERGY

Hydrocarbon plans revisited

Government will push for the surveying of possible reserves off Crete and in the Ionian Sea

Hydrocarbon plans revisited

The government is ready to take advantage of the timing favoring the utilization of Greek hydrocarbons after the European Union decision for the rapid disengagement from Russian natural gas and at the same time for the acknowledgement of gas as a green investment.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is understood to have given his nod to the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management (EDEY) for the carefully targeted restart of its program for the regions to the west and the southwest of Crete and for the Ionian Sea, which present the greatest interest and have already been conceded to oil companies: The consortium of Total-ExxonMobil-Hellenic Petroleum for Crete, and Hellenic Petroleum for the Ionian Sea.

At first the objective will be the surveying of the three blocks so as to establish what lies under the seabed, and then – provided the reserves identified are seen as able to improve the national economy – proceed with their utilization. That practically requires seismic surveys and drilling – i.e. a program of some two-and-a-half years if the Greek reality actually matches the objective times of all these procedures.

In terms of investment, it will take some $3 million per region for the surveying and about $80-120 million for each inspection drilling that in the more difficult technical cases could reach up to $150 million. According to estimates, a proper scanning of the three blocks would require five to six investigative drillings.

For all this planning to proceed, the government will give contractors a strong signal of resolve that they were not given before as a result of the general negative context the previous slide of oil and natural gas rates had created in 2019 and 2020, with the strategy for the divestment by oil companies.

The question now is how the contractors will respond, while the government appears determined to replace them if they do not act swiftly, and is already in talks with four large multinationals that have shown an interest.