ECONOMY

Oil reserves may produce 40 mln barrels

Greece’s unexplored oil deposits could cover 30 percent of the country’s annual energy needs over the next 30 years, according to a government document. In a report prepared by the Environment, Energy and Climate Change Ministry, the government says that «despite a lack of continual and complete studies, it is confirmed that the country has gasoline supplies.» «What is needed is research to locate and determine whether the hydrocarbons can be developed,» the report states. «It is estimated that the hydrocarbons could cover about a third of Greece’s energy needs in the next 30 years and have an impact on crude oil spending, state revenues and job growth.» As the country consumes 120 million barrels of oil every year – 99.5 percent of which is imported – the report indicates that hydrocarbon deposits could produce some 40 million barrels per year. Greece is in the process of putting together a state body that will manage the rights to hydrocarbon exploration and tender them off to gas companies. A draft bill setting up the state body, to be called the Greek Regulatory Corporation for Hydrocarbons, was put up for public discussion yesterday in a procedure expected to last until the middle of January before heading to lawmakers. Greece is the only country in the European Union which does not have a national hydrocarbons regulator. «Greece is a sad example that should be avoided, not only in the EU, but also on a global level,» the report says, adding that the failure to award exploration rights and monitor current production off Kavala, northern Greece, over the last 12 years has robbed the economy of valuable investments. The only oil and natural gas exploration company operating in Greece, Energean Oil and Gas, is about halfway through its five-year $200 million investment plan and intends to boost production in 2011 to 5,000 barrels per day from 2,000-3,000 barrels currently. [email protected]