Greek Parliament ratifies all four hydrocarbons contracts
ATHENS. The concessions are for Block 2 in the Ionian Sea and land areas in Arta-Preveza, Aetolia-Acarnania and Northwest Peloponnese.
The proposal was passed with the support of SYRIZA, ND, Democratic Coalition and Potami. Parliament ratified all four contracts for the concession of exploratory drilling and exploitation rights. The concessions are for Block 2 in the Ionian Sea and land areas in Arta-Preveza, Aetolia-Acarnania and Northwest Peloponnese.
“Let’s not celebrate an ‘Eldorado’ or billions in future income,” stressed the Minister for the Environment and Energy, Giorgos Stathakis, speaking to parliament. “In a methodical and serious way, with full transparency and special care to protect the environment, we will take one step at a time to exploit potential hydrocarbons.”
“The contracts which have been ratified,” continued the Minister, “have attracted interest from a range of international energy companies – Total from France and Edison from Italy. ExxonMobil has also shown an interest in exploring another Greek area, Crete – for which the procedure is already underway.”
The contract for Block 2 in the Ionian Sea, with Total, Edison and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum Company) is a prototype for those to follow. The specific Strategic Research into the Environmental Impact explicitly excludes ‘Natura’ areas and provides for a safety zone of 1km around them. The Ministry for the Environment and Energy is obtaining new seismic data and gradually redesigning the areas which previous governments failed to exploit so that these areas can be updated and made available again.
It is the government’s intention that the protection of the environment should be a main factor in the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons. “Greece has fully adopted the relevant EU regulations, which are the strictest worldwide, whilst paying attention to the ‘Natura’ protected areas”, said the Minister, giving assurances that in none of the concessions will fracking be implemented. He pointed out that the latest developments allow Greece to be optimistic about becoming not only an energy transportation hub, but also a producer, exploiting its comparative advantages - geographical location and the richness of its subsoil.