The Hellenic Institute of Hydrocarbons (HELLINHY) welcomes the nomination by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change of the contractors (through the “open door” method) for the two concession areas (Ipiros and Gulf of Patras), where initial exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons will take place.
However, the selection of the contractor for the third concession area of Katakolo is still pending.
The final signing of the contracts by the Ministry and the (two or three) contractors, which is expected to take place shortly, constitutes the first decisive step towards the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons on the Greek territory in recent years (the previous exploration activities were completed in 2001).
The terms of these contracts, which are still unknown, form an essential tool for all development efforts and it is our belief that they have already been structured in a way that secures the State interests in the best possible way.
The distribution of the initial processed data obtained through the PGS seismic survey in the Ionian Sea and the south part of Crete to the oil companies is also considered a positive step by HELLINHY.
However, it is pinpointed that in order for the above activities to be implemented with the utmost efficiency, the below actions need to be taken:
- The regulatory body of all the aforementioned activities (Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management S.A HHRM S.A. or task force), which will manage, on behalf of the Greek State, all issues related to the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in Greece, must employ staff possessing technical expertise and practical experience.
- Groups consisting of experienced scientists must be established for the monitoring of the contracts/concessions (from a technical, financial, environmental and legal perspective).
- The creation of a cooperation environment with the contractors, based on existing legislation and international good business practice.
- The creation of cooperative relationships and a network of improved mutual information with local communities to ensure a long-term cooperation based on trust.
- As regards the geophysical results of exploration of the PGS, we suggest that, at the same time, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change bring together scientific groups for the processing and evaluation of new and existing geological and geophysical data.
- In this way and in collaboration with oil companies (in order to determine the interest that has been expressed), the ministry should establish a strategic plan for the new concession areas in the Ionian Sea and the south area of Crete, after the issue concerning the delimitation of marine areas through either the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or bilateral agreements has been dealt with.
- Thereafter, a large lobbying campaign should be launched abroad and in all major oil companies without delay, in order to promote the existing potential of these areas in hydrocarbons in the best possible way.
- Finally, we would like to point out the need for the new directive 2013/30/EU by the European Parliament and Council, dated 12 June 2013, on “safety of offshore oil and gas operations” to be incorporated without delay in the Greek legislation; moreover, the time frame set for its adaptation (up to 19 July 2013) should not be exhausted, because, on the one hand, there is complete lack of specific legislation in Greece on environmental issues regarding the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons activities and on the other hand, these activities are already being carried out and reliable measures, preventive and suppressive, have to be established to deal with the environmental impacts effectively.
N.B.: The above announcement is signed on behalf of HELLINHY’s Board of Directors by the President Dr. Vassilios Karkoulias and the Secretary Leontios Portokalakis, MSc.