The government plan for the search for possible natural gas deposits in the country will go on with the Greek companies Hellenic Petroleum and Energean, .

The announcements of the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis about two weeks ago for the resumption of the project of exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons was accompanied by the official announcement of the French TotalEnergies for its withdrawal from the two sea blocks of Crete, while a similar move by American ExxonMobil.

According to OT, the government was aware of the intentions of the two largest oil giants in the world before these developments, but the Prime Minister himself took the political risk of the official announcement of the national strategic plan for the Greek hydrocarbons. “The war in Ukraine and the independence from Russian gas leave no room for energy complacency and the country must exhaust all possibilities for its energy adequacy and security,” commented sources responsible for the departure of the great oil giants from our country. It should be reminded that at the beginning of the summer, Spanish Repsol also left concessions in the Ionian.

The geopolitical messages

According to analysts, the exit of TotalEnergies and the expected departure of ExxonMobil, are likely to signal geopolitical developments in the wider region of the Southeastern Mediterranean. When the two multinationals came together in a joint venture with HELPE, in 2017 the diplomatic interpretations showed the intention of France and the USA to acquire a stronger geopolitical position in the sensitive and full of tensions region. The positions of the two energy giants are not simple investment moves but are of strategic importance for the interests of both countries. At that time, the discoveries in the Cypriot EEZ and the provocative actions of Turkey were on fire. Also in 2019-2020, the disputed Turkey-Libya memorandum on the EEZ as well as the Greece-Egypt agreement on the common EEZ raised the thermometer in the region even further. As well as the Israel-Cyprus-Greece agreement for EastMed. According to diplomatic sources, France and the United States sought to play a role not only as an observer of the events but possibly as a balancer between the conflicting geopolitical interests by placing themselves in both maritime concessions of Crete.

The war in Ukraine has shifted the weight of Franco-American interests to other geographical as well as economic fields, as interpreted by competent sources. The US is clearly promoting its national LNG to replace Russian gas and is not interested in developing deposits in other countries. In addition, an attempt at a new Greek-Turkish approach is underway, while Israeli-Turkish relations are said to be normalizing.

France, according to the same sources, without marginalizing its role in the SE Mediterranean seems to be giving more weight to developments in the interior of Europe, while it seems to agree with the new American dogma in the southern part of the continent, which borders the Middle East and North Africa.

Research in Greece

Given the aforementioned events in the SE Mediterranean which will obviously be exploited by the EU for the extraction of new energy resources, the plan of the Greek government for the utilization of its own sources seems to be limited in the first phase to the simple research for the recording of the size of the natural gas deposits in its territory.

Greek companies that are already located in the offshore and land concessions will bear the burden of conducting seismic surveys.

According to information, Energean is already in the process of bidding for a seismic survey company in block 2, northwest of the Corfu sea area. It is noted that the company that operates in large concessions of Israel, Egypt and the Adriatic, has as a partner with 35% in this block Hellenic Petroleum.

On the other hand, in the promising deposits of Crete, Hellenic Petroleum in collaboration with the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Management Company will carry out the necessary geophysical surveys. The goal is to go ahead in the coming winter season 2022-2023. Their results will possibly unlock the arrival of new investors, able to carry out the drilling. If, of course, in this sensitive part of Greece, the new geopolitical relationships, which will begin to unfold in the coming years will allow this.

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