Geological surveys of the sea area south of Crete have indicated that up to 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could be hidden under the sea bed, according to a report in the Greek daily Ta Nea on Thursday.
The area, which has been given the name “Talos,” in honor of the mythical giant automaton made of bronze whose mission was to protect Europa on Crete from pirates and invaders, has been leased for up to eight years for drilling and research.
The companies awarded the contract are a consortium of the petroleum giants Total, Exxon Mobil and Hellenic Petroleum.
The Greek newspaper says that if the prospective estimates for natural gas are verified, Greece could meet its natural gas energy needs for 70 years.
Until now the largest gas deposit in the eastern Mediterranean has been the “Zohr” field off the Egyptian coast, which is estimated to contain around 30 trillion cubic feet.
Scientists say that the underwater geological structures at Talos are similar the Zohr field, according to the newspaper.
Responding to the press report, Andreas Simiasis, the CEO of Hellenic Petroleum, sought to play down expectations.
Speaking to SKAI TV, the CEO said that the scenario referred to in the newspaper is “very optimistic” and he warned that it’s too early to reach conclusions on the volume of gas deposits in either Crete or the Ionian Sea.
More than 30 areas believed to be ripe for hydrocarbon exploration have been identified in the Ionian Sea and the sea area west and south of Crete.
The Greek Parliament ratified four oil exploration concessions in early October, with the following entities being granted rights for exploratory drilling and extraction of hydrocarbon resources.
– Hellenic Petroleum SA, for the concession of exploration and production rights in Block 10 of the Ionian Sea;
– Repsol Exploracion SA and Hellenic Petroleum SA, for offshore drilling in the “Ionio” region of Western Greece;
– Total E&P Greece B.V., ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Greece (Crete) B.V. and Hellenic Petroleum SA for offshore exploratory drilling and production rights in the “Southwest Crete” sea region of Greece;
– Total E&P Greece B.V., ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Greece (Crete) B.V. and Hellenic Petroleum SA for offshore exploratory drilling and production rights in the “West of Crete” sea region of Greece.