Greece has awarded concessions to Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and Energean Oil & Gas for onshore gas exploration and exploitation in three fields in the west of the country, the Energy Ministry in Athens said on Thursday.
Hellenic Petroleum, Greece’s biggest oil refiner, won two of the concessions and the country’s sole oil producer Energean Oil & Gas was awarded one, the ministry said in a statement.
Greece, which clinched a third bailout with its international creditors in August, has made several fruitless attempts over the last 50 years to find big oil and gas reserves.
Its debt crisis has prompted the country to step up those efforts.
The companies submitted bids for the blocks last year.
Hellenic Petroleum – in a venture with Italy’s Edison and Ireland’s Petroceltic – and Energean Oil were the winners of drilling licenses for three onshore and offshore blocks in western Greece awarded in 2014.