Greece has awarded exploration licences for three onshore gas blocks, according to the country’s energy minister. The licences were awarded to Hellenic Petroleum and Energean Oil and Gas.
Hellenic petroleum is Greece’s biggest refiner and will take control of two of the licences in the west of the country. Hellenic Petroleum’s CEO, Grigoris Stergioulis, said that the company was open to working with partners in the two blocks.
"We start independently but we are open to cooperation and proposals that are based on and respect the business rules of the world industry," he told Reuters.
The other remaining block will be administered by Energean Oil and Gas, Greece’s sole exploration and production company.
Energean is continuing to invest heavily in upstream operations despite the current low market conditions, and had separately allocated $200 million for investment between 2015 and 2018.
“Energean is continuing to invest despite the ongoing problems in Greece and the low oil price operating environment,” Energean’s chief executive officer, Mathios Rigas, said in a recent interview with Bloomberg. “Following their recapitalisation, Greek lenders must start deploying capital to boost investments in the real economy.”
Greece currently ranks 91st in the world, with modest proven reserves of 10 million barrels of crude. However, significant oil and gas discoveries elsewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean region have prompted the Greek government to step up its search for hydrocarbons.