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Greece, Increase in global natural gas prices by 250 % has highlighted both the financial and the geopolitical significance of hydrocarbon reserves

28.Nov 2021.

The increase in global natural gas prices by 250 % since the start of the year has highlighted both the financial and the geopolitical significance of hydrocarbon reserves, which also revives interest in yet unexplored reserves in southeastern Mediterranean and the Ionian Sea.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at the European Council that the geopolitical aspects of the energy crisis and the role that the Eastern Mediterranean can play as an alternative source for the European Union’s energy security. The region’s reserves are estimated at between 122 trillion and 277 cubic feet, a significant part of which has already been confirmed in the exclusive economic zones of Israel, Egypt and Cyprus. Besides natural gas, the region can also secure the EU some cheap green electricity from the Sahara desert, via the underwater connection of Egypt with Cyprus and Greece.

Greece has yet to explore the capacity of its possible gas reserves, estimated in the Ionian Sea and off the island of Crete around 70 trillion and 90 trillion cubic feet respectively.

The new situation has brought back to the table the utilization of those reserves and bolstered interest by Total and ExxonMobil in blocks to the south and west of Crete.

In early 2021, a consortium consisting of US ExxonMobil, French Total and Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) has decided to postpone seismic surveys of two offshore blocks south and west of the island of Crete for the winter of 2021/22.