‘Major prospect’ off Crete boosts expectations

‘Major prospect’ off Crete boosts expectations

With US-based ExxonMobil entering the final stage of exploration in Crete, Athens’ expectations have been boosted by the statement by Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas that there are indications of a significant deposit that could fill the Russian gas gap in Europe for 10 years.

This has been estimated on an annual basis by the International Energy Agency and the Commission at 30 billion cubic meters. 

The geological evidence from the seismic surveys carried out in 2012 by the PGS research vessel on behalf of the Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company (EDEYEP) shows an increased likelihood of 9 trillion cubic feet or 280 billion cubic meters of gas. 

This potential size is equivalent to twice the size of the Cypriot Aphrodite field or the Tamar field, Israel’s second largest.

ExxonMobil’s interest in the two regions west and southwest of Crete since 2017 and its increased involvement following French company Total’s withdrawal, support predictions, according to people acquainted with how oil firms operate worldwide, of a sizable gas deposit.

The executives in charge of the Greek project visited Athens last Tuesday and had a meeting with Skrekas, whom they briefed on the exploration program off Crete.

The official timetable set by EDEYEP puts the decision to drill the first exploratory well between 2025 and 2026, development of the field in 2027 and the start of production, if everything goes smoothly and exploration is successfully completed, in 2029. 

However, the company will seek to move quickly to progress to first exploratory drilling in 2025 and production of the field in 2027 or earlier.

The aim of EDEYEP and the Greek government is to limit the total time for data evaluation completed in late February, preparation and drilling to 2 to 2.5 years, half the time it took Cyprus to complete the process. 

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