Editor’s note: On 3 December, Greece’s energy ministry announced the creation of a public group to be concerned specifically with hydrocarbons research. The announcement coincided with related developments in the sector, disclosed below, that indicate the growing importance of this sector for Greek authorities and industry alike.
The Greek energy firm Energean Oil & Gas, formerly known as the “Aegean Energy Company,” is expanding its investment in oil exploration projects in Greece’s developing offshore fields.
In early December 2010, drilling equipment will arrive in the Prinos offshore oil field, while existing production at the “Epsilon field” will be stabilized. Further, new drilling will begin during a second stage- the company discovered (through its previous exploration assessments) that significant recoverable amounts of oil exist there. The current investment planning is estimated at around 20 million euros. Cumulatively, the company’s five-year investment plan exceeds 200 million euros.
During 2009, Energean successfully completed two offshore extended reach wells in the Gulf of Kavala, bringing on stream the Prinos North and Epsilon fields. This resulted in a significant increase of production rates, to 5,000 barrels of oil per day from 1,000 one year earlier.
In addition, the Greek Ministry of Energy recently approved the acquisition by Aegean Energy of a 70% interest in the Sea of Thrace offshore concession license. This offshore field, located in the northeastern Aegean near Turkey, comprises an area covering a total of 1,600 square kilometers. Further, in 2009 Energean also acquired a 2,000km 2D Seismic survey for offshore Greece identifying new potential exploration targets, currently being evaluated. This seismic survey is a geological research product and it shows the indications for hydrocarbon reserves in the specified area.
At the same time, the company is also investing in Egyptian offshore drilling through its subsidiary, Aegean Energy (Egypt) Limited. Through it, the company has received from Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum the Deed of Assignment for the transfer to it of a 60% net interest in the West Kom Ombo (WKO) Block from Groundstar Resources.
A further 20% is expected to be approved through a series of transactions resulting in a final holding of 80% for Energean Oil & Gas; moreover, it will be the operator of the Block, with Groundstar retaining a 10% net carried interest.
Over the past few weeks, the Egyptian authorities have granted all of the necessary approvals. The company has also scheduled a series of infrastructure projects in WKO.
The contract for drilling has been awarded to the Sino Tharwa Drilling Company, while the American Halliburton Company will take care of the project management for drilling. Previous findings by Canada’s Gustavson Associates estimate that recoverable oil in WKO should amount to approximately 570 million barrels.
The estimate by both the company and by Greek energy analysts is that the Prinos “Epsilon” field has approximately 50 million barrels and 17,000 -20,000 barrels per day could be produced over the next couple of years. A more interesting aspect is the overall potential of all known offshore fields in Greece. Recent scientific and economic conferences have presented figures of approximately 22 billion barrels in the Ionian Sea (off the coast of western Greece) and some 4 billion barrels in the northern Aegean Sea. Of the aforementioned, 10% could be exploited and have a financially viable business plan.
Other Greek regions, such as the southern Aegean Sea and the Cretan Sea have yet to be studied. The now defunct Greek national council for energy policy, in an official report published on 25 May 2008, stated that “production from the oil fields in the Northern Aegean could reach 200,000 barrels per day… Greece is one of the least explored countries in Europe regarding its hydrocarbon potentials.”
As most know the Texas based company Stratfor that brands itself as a “global intelligence” provider, was recently targeted by Anonymous, and most its emails were released in batches by WikiLeaks. In one such email, reference is made to Greece’s natural gas and oil reserves and if the information that was disclosed in the emails is correct, then we have proof of a NATIONAL SCANDAL on our hands. And we believe this since there is now strong evidence that proves that when George Papandreou was asked by reporters on December 11, 2009 on whether or not Greece had oil, he purposely lied and said that we did not have any oil, or just “very little”. All this in a period when Stratfor was apparently selling information about Greece’s hydrocarbons to the highest bidder in the US (said to be private companies, government agencies) two years earlier, or since 2007!
With this in mind, instead of announcing Greece’s EEZ and begin oil exploration right away -which would have placed Greece in a much better position economically than it is today- George Papandreou rather chose to place us under the first Memorandum. A few months later and after a flood of information began making its way to the general public about oil exploration, we even saw Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos suddenly announcing that there was indeed “”oil in Greece.”
Also, just three days after the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton left Greece in July 2011 we were told that the government announced that the law on the establishment of an institution that would conduct tenders for oil surveys was entering its final stage. Several days before that a law on privatization of public property was passed by the government leaving open the possibility of liquidating assets to creditors of all of Greece’s mineral wealth, including its proven reserves – as well as those that may be discovered in the future and the total potential revenue from them -. The description on the Implementation Law in question, the procedure for selling state property, securities, intangible, existing and future assets of the Greek state through the “Fund for the Development of Private Property in SA government” does not make such a development possible; it is just the prelude, but it was clearly understood that all the revenue absorbed from this action would and had to be used to repay Greece’s debt. This was revealed by the Epikaira magazine and featured here on hellasfrappe in July 2011. Click here for that story
Back to our subject. The cables from WikiLeaks also notes Stratfor officials as saying that it was best to connect Greece to the dollar.
In September this year Prime Minister Papandreou stated “I am announcing that Greece will begin exploring for oil and natural gas fields in the Ionian Sea and near southern Crete and a resolution on a tender will be announced immediately.” In the event that Greece did become a significant natural gas/oil producer, the country would prefer to be in the dollar bloc than in the Euro one. We understand that Papandreou has been flirting with the USA. Wikileaks
The news of possibly “placing Greece in the dollar” is nothing new to us here at hellasfrappe. Some may recall that on December 01, 2011 we published an article from the Epikaira Magazine on this very subject. The ambitious plan said that the US Federal Reserve (FED) had put together a report (74,000 words), which looked at the replacement of the euro with the dollar as a national currency to the member states that do not want to continue in the Eurozone. And if Greece did exit the Eurozone, and in the framework of not allowing total chaos to brake as a result of this (limited imports, etc,), a “pegging” plan would be enforced right away with the “new drachma” and the US dollar. (Read full story here). We suspect that there there was more to this than meets the eye, since we all know that all the oil and natural gas in the world is traded in dollars and not euros. So we can safely assume that Stratfor said this because it had evidence of our oil deposits… once again proving that foreign interests knew about this way before Greece ever entered the Memorandum.
The cables also note the surveys that were conducted between 2009 and 2011 (in the same period when Papandreou flatly denied the existence of oil), while there was also word of other surveys that had been conducted but that had yet to be revealed.
What makes this particular cable so profoundly interesting, aside from the obvious, is the fact that it is a discussion by the head of Stratfor with his analysts and a surefire leak of information. According to the defencenet website -which also published a relevant story on this subject- the calculations made in this cable appear to be based on the same information that is apparently held by the head of Noble Energy, who it notes has a comprehensive file for all the identified fields in the Eastern Mediterranean in its possession.
From what we know in previous reports which have been published here on hellasfrappe and based on the estimations of highly esteemed geologists, most of the deposits that have been found south of Crete, are within the Mediterranean Ridge, at an area of about 80.000 Km2, the largest part being in Greece’s EEZ.
The amount of oil in this area alone is estimated at about 20 -22 billion barrels, while a further 20 billion barrels of oil is expected to be found in the Herodotus area, which is 150 -175 km east of Ierapetra.
if Greece became a player on the energy market, rather than have it in the Eurozone. Greece has the potential to become a large producer of oil and natural gas following the hydrocarbon discoveries in the seas around Cyprus and elsewhere in the area. At a recent conference in Crete organized by the Mineral Resources Engineering Department of the Technical University of Crete it was stated from USGS assessments that the area south of Crete may have potentially huge hydrocarbon deposits such assessments have been confirmed from unpublished geophysical data.
Interestingly Professor of Emeritus Antonis Foskolos from the Department of Mineral Resources and Engineering of the Technical University of Crete claims that the south eastern basin of Herodotus in Crete has reserves that surpass two trillion cubic meter mark. This is a vast amount and can only be compared to what was discovered in the Nile Delta (by SHELL, BP) . He says the sediments are of the same origin and geological formations are very similar. In all so far, it is estimated that there are 3.5 trillion cubic meters of gas located there, which can be equaled to 20-22 billion barrels of oil!
Other experts agree with Foskolos as well. A separate report on the Chaniotika nea site said that Professor Giannis Makris says that there are two potential hydrocarbon reserves southwest of Crete, where sediment thickness is 10 to 12 kilometers, and there are hydrocarbon reserves in Western Crete where there are 3 fields of mud volcanoes.
He says that it is absolutely necessary to undertake three-dimensional high-resolution geophysical surveys throughout southern part of Crete so that the size of the hydrocarbon deposits can be measured. The cost, according to him for conducting such a survey, runs in the area of approximately 6 million Euros. (Please click here to read this story)
But oil is not only confined in the eastern part of Crete, there are huge deposits of oil which are also said to be found in the Northern Aegean as well. The data for these deposits has already been documented by the Hellenic Institute for Geology and Mineral Exploration (IGME), as well as by the Hellenic Petroleum Company but it has purposely remained on the back burner for years.
In fact, these reports, which up until several months ago were only thought to have been a “product of imagination” by many, note that in the northern Aegean, near the Prinos field, and near the island of Babouris (as well as the surrounding areas) and to the west and south of the Gulf of Strymon and Mount Athos, the potential reserves amount to some 1/3 of Greece’s energy needs.
Yes you heard correctly, one third of Greece’s needs. This equals to 5.5 billion barrels, not euros, of oil, or 100,000 barrels / a day, and this is just from the deposits in the northern Aegean!
Earlier surveys conducted before the year 2000 by the Institute for Geology and Mineral Exploration as well as the Hellenic Petroleum Company speak of primary deposits of over 4 billion barrels of reserves in the northern Aegean with the (basins of Thessaloniki North Aegean Sea) and around 2 billion barrels in the Ionian sea Basin.
All this information was available, and more importantly it was known by the Papandreou government in December 2009 when he flatly said that there was no oil in Greece.
Think about it. He went to Kastelorizo to announce our acceptance of the first Memorandum. The very same island which today is characterized as being “undefined” by some of Papandreou’s ministers. And after the first memorandum was signed, almost immediately his government formed a body to oversee oil exploration. Right after this they said they would announce tenders for oil exploration in the Western part of Greece and some areas in Crete… but they have never talked about the Aegean, nor the Herodotus area, and as we all know they never bothered touching the subject of Kastelorizo.
And now, after signing the second Memorandum (which transforms Greek law into the British – meaning that now our creditors have a right to confiscate proceeds from oil and natural gas- the same officials finally decided to begin surveys.
If it quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck… it must be a duck!
This is no laughing matter. This is a sheer tragedy for our country. And even though we here at hellasfrappe feel justified because we have been screaming about this for over a year now, we are sad to see that George Papandreou’s government did the bidding of foreign and maybe even domestic interests. This information was probably also known by several prominent families in Greece and we are guessing that these families are involved with the production of oil. In any nation, this would be termed treason and in such a case anyone who knew about this and purposely allowed our country to reach the point of almost defaulting should stand trial. Their greed has not only set back Greece economically for at least 30 years, but it has destroyed every opportunity our nation will ever have of developing itself. If this is not a crime… we do not know what is.Source