Officials signed on Thursday signed an initial agreement awarding the exploration and development for hydrocarbons in sea blocks off Crete and Kyparissia to private companies. Energy and Environment Minister Giorgos Stathakis signed the deal with the head of the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management Ioannis Basias and representatives of the companies involved. According to Greek law, the agreements need to be checked by the Audit Council and then final signatures will be put on the contracts before being approved by parliament. The agreement relates to two sea blocks south of Crete and one more off Kyparissia. A joint venture consisting of Total, ExxonMobil, and Hellenic Petroleum has been awarded the Crete sea area, while in Kyparissia the contract has been awarded to Hellenic Petroleum.