High hopes for hy­dro­car­bons

Ex­tended sur­vey­ing and in­ter­est by two global oil giants point to find­ings that may beat ex­pec­ta­tions

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

The Devel­op­ment Min­istry was brim­ming with op­ti­mism yes­ter­day upon the com­ple­tion of the PGS sur­vey ves­sel’s mis­sions in the Io­nian Sea and south of Crete. Nor­we­gian com­pany Pe­tro­leum Geo-Ser­vices has been con­duct­ing seis­mic sur­veys that will il­lus­trate to what ex­tent es­ti­mates re­gard­ing the quan­ti­ties of hy­dro­car­bon re­serves in the two ar­eas are cor­rect.

How­ever, the mere fact that two top oil com­pa­nies, French To­tal and US ExxonMo­bil, are said to have al­ready ex­pressed an in­ter­est in ac­quir­ing the data gath­ered by PGS shows that the high ex­pec­ta­tions that the rich re­serves found in Is­rael and Cyprus ex­tend to Greece are set to be con­firmed.

The in­ter­est of the two multi­na­tion­als has not yet been for­mally an­nounced, but it has been con­firmed by government sources and in the state­ment the min­istry is­sued re­gard­ing the com­ple­tion of the ship’s mis­sion.

“The col­lected data go over and be­yond the orig­i­nal plan­ning due to the in­ter­est ex­pressed by hy­dro­car­bon com­pa­nies which, even if they are few in num­ber given the early phase the pro­gram is in, are among the lead­ing firms in the sec­tor,” the min­istry state­ment read yes­ter­day.

In the four months lead­ing up to last week, PGS sur­veyed an area over 55 per­cent big­ger than orig­i­nally planned, upon the re­quest of the oil com­pa­nies. How­ever, a clear pic­ture of the real in­ter­est of the oil in­dus­try in the uti­liza­tion of hy­dro­car­bon re­serves in Greece will emerge to­ward the end of the year. That is when the government is ex­pected to pro­ceed to split­ting the area into blocks so as to start con­ced­ing them for uti­liza­tion.

Re­gard­ing the rich re­serves be­lieved to be south of Crete, Athens’s aim is to have the con­ces­sion con­tracts with the cho­sen com­pa­nies signed in the first half of 2015 so that drilling can start with a view to con­clud­ing by 2018-19.

The three ar­eas of in­ter­est in the Io­nian Sea will be drilled even ear­lier as they are in the open-door process, al­low­ing any com­pany to bid for their con­ces­sion.

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