And officially TotalEnergies announced its withdrawal from the hydrocarbon investigations in the two maritime concessions of Crete it had leased three years ago as head of the joint venture with ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum. “Following the completion of the studies carried out on the research areas in Western Crete and Southwest Crete, TotalEnergies decided to withdraw from the two blocks. TotalEnergies EP Greece informed its authorities and partners about this decision. TotalEnergies remains committed to the development of renewable energy in Greece”, notes the French multinational, confirming the publications of  the journal “TA NEA” of 1, 9, 15 and 18 April concerning the imminent withdrawal of the company.

The oil company movements are helping the planning of the Greek government to further explore and exploit possible natural gas deposits in the blocks that have been granted to investors in recent years. According to information, ExxonMobil, the second partner of the joint venture, is going to follow a similar course with the French company.

In this context, market sources want the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company and the Greek government to keep in touch so as to attract investors to the Greek upstream. Among the names heard are Italian Eni, Shell, Chevron and Equinor. Apart from these initiatives, however, moves by existing investors as well as by the Greek government and the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management are in progress for the conduct of new seismic surveys in both Crete and the Ionian Sea.

According to information, in the sea block 2 located northwest of Corfu in the Ionian Sea, Energean, the representative of the joint venture with the Hellenic Petroleum, launched the tender procedures for the award of three-dimensional seismic surveys to a specialised company.

The Greek government and the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management plan to conduct seismic surveys during the winter period of 2022-2023 in the two concessions of Crete in order to attract new investors.

Seismic surveys

The joint venture TotalEnergies – ExxonMobil – Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE), in the three years it has held the rights to the blocks, it has not progressed in seismic surveys. According to information, the seismic surveys will be carried out on the initiative of the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management and the new data will be on sale in the oil market to attract new investors. PGS is said to be the company to be used for this purpose. PGS had carried out seismic surveys in the Ionian Sea and Crete during the period of 2013.

Unlike Crete, things seem to move more dynamically in the Ionian Sea. As mentioned above, Energean is in the process of inviting foreign companies to participate in the seismic surveys in the marine block 2. The fact that the promising geological structure of the area extends to the adjacent Italy is also a reinforcement of these movements. The part of the interesting structure in Italy has also been allocated for research. The neighbouring country has recently lifted the moratorium on exploration for possible gas fields. Energean is expected to proceed in the coming winter season with seismic surveys in block 2. In fact, three-dimensional seismic surveys will be conducted directly, bypassing the two-dimensional stage. According to the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management, there is a localized target and the Energean-HELPE joint venture plan provides for the first test drilling to be carried out in 2024.

Finally, Hellenic Petroleum waits the results of the seismic surveys, as well, in the other two maritime blocks of the Ionian Sea, “Ionian” and “Block 10 – Kyparissiakos Gulf”. The seismic surveys were carried out in March and the data will be processed and evaluated for the next six to twelve months.

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