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    Greece eyes gas exploration windfall: press


Athens will try to encourage upstream gas exploration at two Hellenic Petroleum-operated licences.

by: Callum Cyrus

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Greece eyes gas exploration windfall: press

Greece believes that the post-Ukraine energy landscape could help foster investment in offshore gas exploration prospects along its western and southern shores, Reuters reported April 5, citing officials close to the matter.

Until recently, Greece produced modest hydrocarbon quantities mainly from Energean's aging South Kavala and Prions concessions, which appear to have run dry some time last year. South Kavala could be converted into underground gas storage.

Now Athens has put together a gas exploration blueprint to begin test drilling at new Greek upstream assets by 2026, according to an unnamed senior executive from Greece's hydrocarbon commission. The official told Reuters the strategy was considered "ambitious", but achievable.  Reuters' sources said Athens had geological data suggesting Greece could hold gas reserves in the region of "hundreds" of bn m3.

Greek offshore exploration has struggled to seal the deal with big IOCs in recent years. A licensing round that attracted the likes of ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies was held in 2018, but there has been criticism of the regulatory barriers and the investment climate. It could just be that Greece has a far smaller pedigree than other Mediterranean countries, especially Egypt, that already produce gas. TotalEnergies divested its 50% operator share in Greece's Block 2 in January 2021, handing over to Greece's Energean.

Another Greek operator, Hellenic Petroleum, currently has licences in the Ionian Sea and around Crete island with gas exploration potential. In Crete, it participates in a consortium alongside TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil, Reuters said.

Hellenic recently completed an initial seismic program in its Ionian Sea acreage. It is yet to confirm whether potential hydrocarbons were identified. Athens is now contemplating an extension to the licensing terms to enable further seismic acquisition.