Offshore oil and gas blocks in Greece are catching the attention of the likes of Total, ExxonMobil, and Repsol, according to a new report by Reuters.
Exxon, Total, and Hellenic Petroleum have teamed up to bid on a block near Crete, while Repsol and Hellenic Petroleum bid on another block in the Ionian Sea.
The tenders went live last year, after several multinationals expressed interest in developing the fields. Energean, one of the offshore area’s original prospectors, has withdrawn from the process.
Greece became enthusiastic about fossil fuel prospects in the eastern Mediterranean after giant fields were found near Israel and Egypt. Exxon and Total are already active explorers in offshore blocks near Cyprus.
Greek energy minister George Stathakis said international interest in the blocks represented “a vote of confidence in the prospects of the Greek economy and the country’s role as a stabilizing factor in the southeast Mediterranean region.”
Western Greece approved new drilling activity from Total and Edison last month, according to a go-ahead authorized by the nation’s parliament. Four blocks in the area, one offshore and three onshore, had been ratified back in 2016, but gridlock prevented the parliament from ratifying the exploration contracts.
Greece will start opening new onshore oil and gas blocks for exploration in 2018, the head of the Hellenic Hydrocarbons Resources Management (HHRM), Yannis Bassias, told Reuters in an interview published last May.
One of the first areas slated for opening is the region of Grevena in northern Greece, close to the route of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), Bassias said.
“As of next year, and perhaps earlier, we will begin announcing that we are opening the door to whoever is interested in onshore sites,” according to the head of Greece’s oil and gas resource management body.
|Zainab Calcuttawala for OilPrice.com|