A clear political position that will provide support to the research program of the consortium “Total– ExxonMobil – ELPE” for the natural gas deposits in the maritime concessions “West” and “Southwest of Crete” is expected by the aforementioned companies.

This information is reported to ot.gr by competent agents who know the movements of the investment scheme, to which the two offshore plots were granted by law in 2019.

Their decision not to complete the research program for this winter, based on their contractual obligations, has to do with not formulating a clear political position on whether there is a governmental will to explore the areas and with a judicial engagement that has been going on for two years.

According to the same sources, ecological organizations have appealed to the Council of State against the Strategic Environmental Impact Study issued by the Ministry of Environment and Energy in order for the three companies to carry out the research. The trial of the case has been postponed in the past and, today, the Council of State is expected to examine the file on February 2. The outcome of the appeal is expected to largely determine the attitude of the concessionaires.

However, the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management Company (HHRM) assures that it has the necessary legal “arsenal” to defend the legality of the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the two maritime concessions.

Seismic surveys

The consortium of “Total – ExxonMobil – EL.PE” underlines that it is not going to return the two areas to the Greek state, i.e. it intends to continue its explorations, unless of course there is another involvement or development that prevents the fulfillment of their contractual obligations. Their research program is in the phase of seismic surveys by a specially equipped vessel that will scan more accurately the geological structure of the concessions. The deadline is October 2022. However, as seismic surveys for mammal protection are carried out only during the period of December to April, if the decision of the Council of State justifies the arguments of HHRM, then the consortium will conduct seismic surveys next winter 2022-2023.

According to the same factors, such a decision by the Council of State may carry the appropriate message to investors in order to continue the exploration of the natural gas deposits.

It is worth emphasizing that the specific areas hide promising deposits, as at least recently hinted by the president of HHRM, Mr. Aris Stefatos and some othe oil executives, about two years ago. The latter spoke of a natural gas field of the order of 10 trillion cubic feet. And they proceeded to this assessment after analyzing the seismic data obtained during the period 2012-2013.

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