TotalEnergies sources attribute the decision of the French energy group to withdraw from the joint venture it had set up with ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum for the exploration of possible natural gas deposits in the two offshore areas, “West of Crete” and “Southwest of Crete” to the overall review of its investment plans around the world.

This is stated by company sources to OT, and as they explain, the company is completely changing its strategic and investment planning, emphasizing the greater development of RES projects, production of hydrocarbons in other areas with more mature concessions and other forms of energy with lower emissions.

It is worth emphasizing that the same sources note to OT that their departure does not mean that the specific assets of Crete have no value. The necessary geophysical surveys have not been done, of course, but as previous seismic data of the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Management Company have shown, the two areas are promising in terms of locating serious gas deposits.

It should be noted that the two maritime concessions of Crete in recent years faced a serious investment obstacle, which was not resolved in time. This has to do with the appeal of ecological organizations against the Strategic Environmental Impact Study of the two marine concessions. The case is still pending in the Court of Appeals, which after many postponements has scheduled the trial for next October.

TotalEnergies and Greek RES

Regarding Greece, TotalEnergies plans the largest development of RES projects. It operates in our country through Eren Hellas. This is the Greek subsidiary of Total Eren, which has a total gross installed capacity of approximately 350 MW (84 MW of solar photovoltaics and 265 MW of wind energy). According to the same circles, “Greece, having significant wind and solar resources, offers ideal conditions for the development of renewable energy sources.” Total Eren’s development activity for the Greek market is in full swing, with over 750 MW of wind and solar projects. TotalEnergies participates directly or indirectly with a 30% stake in Total Eren.

The fate of the share

The departure of TotalEnergies comes a few months before the completion of the first phase of the consortium’s research program in the two maritime concessions of Crete. This expires in October.

According to information, the scenarios for the fate of the French share (40%) want:

1. The acquisition of the stake either by the American ExxonMobil (it also owns 40% of the consortium) or by Hellenic Petroleum, or the 40% share of the French is transferred to both partners.

A condition, of course, is that the other two partners want to acquire it. And as OT wrote, last Monday, sources also see ExxonMobil leaving.

2. The entry of a new investor.

The second scenario envisages the entry of a new investor in the consortium, in place of the French. Sources state that HELPE, the government and EDEY are already in such a process talking to foreign players.

3. The return of concessions to the Greek state

The third scenario wants in case none of the participants wants to stay in the consortium then the exploration and exploitation rights of hydrocarbons are returned to the Greek state.

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