As the Greek hydrocarbon program enters a new phase of activity, one year post the completion of seismic surveys in offshore blocks, attention intensifies on its progression.

All eyes are fixed on the forthcoming moves in the West and Southwest regions of Crete. The spotlight falls on key operators such as the ExxonMobil – Helleniq Energy consortium, Energean – Helleniq Energy for “Block 2” off the northwest coast of Corfu in the Ionian Sea, and Helleniq Energy for the territories “Ionian” and “Block 10” – within the Kyparissiakos Gulf, northwest of Corfu.

However, complications arise for the Ioannina block, owned by Energean. A fresh round of setbacks emerges following a challenge filed with the Council of State by local residents and organizations opposing the recent approval of environmental terms.

The Council of State decided to adjudicate on the case in October 2024… That is, 8 months after the appeal, and an investment of around 35 to 40 million euros solely in the first drilling phase is now hanging in the balance.

Two years ago, Total Energies, ExxonMobil, and HELLENiQ ENERGY faced similar issues in Crete’s gas fields. TotalEnergies withdrew in April 2022 due to slow judicial processes.

ExxonMobil took over as operator for the “West of Crete” and “Southwest of Crete” concessions, partnering with HELLENiQ ENERGY for surveys. They’re now deciding on initial drilling, with a decision expected in 12 to 18 months.

What is more a few days ago, the government announced the establishment of a marine park in the area of “Block 10” in the Ionian Sea, within the Kyparissiakos Gulf, which has been leased for hydrocarbon exploration by HELLENiQ ENERGY with several million euros having been spent on seismic surveys in this area.

Sources disclose that the petroleum companies holding the concessions are seeking partners to jointly invest and share the costs of exploration and drilling.

However, the aforementioned developments, especially the delay in judicial decisions for investment choices, are said to create further obstacles in the market, with all developments surrounding the Greek upstream sector coming to a halt, with no new investment initiatives moving forward.


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