Athens — Greece is hopeful it has hydrocarbon reserves in the west of the country to cover its energy consumption for a decade, Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said on Friday.
While environmental campaigners are pushing for a shift to zero-carbon fuel, Greece is among the countries that says the disruption of Russian energy supplies as a result of the Ukraine war is reason to increase hydrocarbons exploration.
It says the country’s location and existing investment in infrastructure positions it perfectly to help Europe achieve energy autonomy.
In April, Energean, the country’s sole oil producer so far, announced test drilling at the onshore block in the northwestern area of Ioannina in 2023, the first such drilling in the country in 22 years.
A 2D seismic survey was conducted in 2019.
Skrekas said on Friday that surveys showed a 15% probability, considered high in drilling terms, of a significant deposit.
“The Ioannina deposit could cover the consumption of Greece, if confirmed by real data, for 10 years,” Skrekas told Skai TV.
Greece views gas as a transition fuel as it ramps up renewables and says the shift in its strategy, following the war in Ukraine, will not undermine its plan to boost green energy and cut carbon emissions by 55% by 2030 in line with European Union climate change targets.
This week Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the initiation of seismic surveys to locate potential natural gas reserves in two offshore blocks southwest of Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula and the island of Crete.
Skrekas said that, if the seismic data is satisfactory, the first test drilling in that area could be conducted in 2025.
Climate scientists have said new hydrocarbons exploration is incompatible with efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the level that would prevent the worst impacts of global warming.
But the fossil fuel industry worldwide has been making the case for the continued use of hydrocarbons as a means to address the energy and economic crisis caused by the Ukraine war and to create wealth.
Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Lefteris Papadimas; editing by Barbara Lewis – Reuters
Follow us on twitter