April 9, 2019 / 5:37 PM / 6 months ago

Repsol, Hellenic sign lease deals to look for oil in western Greece

ATHENS, April 9 (Reuters) - Spain’s Repsol and Hellenic Petroleum on Tuesday signed lease agreements to explore for oil and gas in two offshore blocks in Western Greece.

Encouraged by major gas finds off Cyprus, Egypt and Israel in the eastern Mediterranean, Greece is eager to attract energy investments as it is emerges from years of economic crisis and three international bailouts.

Western Greece is an underexplored area and very little data exists on its hydrocarbon potential.

A joint venture of Repsol and Hellenic will search for hydrocarbons in an offshore block in the Ionian Sea, while Hellenic will also explore in another block off the Peloponnese peninsula.

Hellenic has exploration rights in other offshore and onshore areas in Greece and plans the first test drilling off the Peloponnese peninsula next year.

Energean is currently the sole oil producer in the country and its output is expected between 5,000 and 5,500 barrels per day in 2019.

A consortium of U.S. Exxon Mobil, France’s Total and Hellenic has also been awarded a tender to explore for oil and gas off Crete. Signature of the respective agreements and parliament approval is expected this summer.

“A big round of lease agreements for the exploration and development of hydrocarbons is closing with these two agreements we are signing today and with the two outstanding ones for two offshore blocks south and southwest of Crete,” Energy Minister George Stathakis told reporters.

“We will get a safe preview of the extent and size of the deposits in two to four years.” (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; editing by David Evans)

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