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ATHENS May 31 A consortium that includes Total
and Exxon Mobil has submitted an expression of
interest in oil and gas exploration and exploitation in two
sites off the Greek island of Crete, the energy ministry said on
Greece's Hellenic Petroleum is the other company
in the consortium.
Greece has launched an ambitious programme to discover more
oil and gas, encouraged by recent large gas finds in the eastern
Mediterranean and spurred on by its protracted financial crisis.
Last week it granted a concession to Hellenic Petroleum for
onshore exploration at two sites in the west of the country, and
to privately held Energean for another block.
Greece's energy minister also held talks with
representatives of Total and ExxonMobil last week about
In 2014 Greece tendered 20 blocks in the Ionian Sea and
south of Crete but only three were successfully offered.
"If there is evidence of the existence of exploitable
hydrocarbons, it is certain that our country will enter a new
era," Hellenic Petroleum Chairman Efstathios Tsotsoros said in a
It would entail "obvious benefits for the national economy,
local societies, as well as the upgrading of Greece in
geopolitics and energy," he said.
The head of Greece's oil and gas resources management
company told Reuters on Monday he was confident firmer crude
prices a more stable political climate in Greece would attract
prospectors to those sites.
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Karolina Tagaris; Editing
by Susan Fenton)