State company Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management (EDEY) will talk to Greek and foreign investors who have been awarded natural gas exploration rights in northwestern Greece and to the west and southwest of the island of Crete in order to accelerate the exploration and exploitation timeline.
A recent ministerial meeting under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis decided to accelerate exploration in order to lessen dependence on Russian gas.
EDEY managers said the investors will be informed of the new priorities and timelines, including the completion of seismic research by the end of 2023, at the latest. The government would like to bring that deadline forward to Spring 2023, if possible.
The same sources said there is renewed interest from more prospective investors in the above-mentioned areas, or any new ones to be opened to bids; the interest was kindled by the withdrawal of Russian energy companies.
In the only land area leased out, to London-based Energean plc, the state wants exploratory drilling in a small (0.3 – 0.4 hectare) plot to take place by the end of 2023 and production to begin by 2025, if enough reserves are found. The fact that gas reserves have been found in neighboring Albania is encouraging.
In Area 2, west for Corfu, leased to a consortium made up of Energean (75%) and Hellenic Petroleum (25%) there will be immediate 3-D seismic exploration followed by exploratory drilling in 2024. The target reserves are said to extend beyond Greek waters, which means that, if exploitable reserves are found, revenue will be shared with another country.
In the Ionian Sea and Kyparissiakos Gulf areas, the latter of the coast of the Peloponnese, where Heelenic Petroleum (HELPE) has been granted exclusive exploration rights, 2-D seismic research has just been concluded, to be followed by analysis before proceeding with 3-D research. The spots where that research will take place will be chosen in 2023, aiming for a first exploratory drilling in 2024.
In the areas of the coast of Crete, awarded to a consortium made up of Total, ExxonMobil and HELPE, research has been delayed by environmental NGOs who have petitioned the Council of State against the exploration. There is a talk of activating protective clauses in order to ensure that 2-D drilling begins in the winter of 2022-23.
EDEY management said that the already-mentioned estimate of €250 billion in turnover from hydrocarbon exploitation is based on oil prices between $60 – 70 per barrel.