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Greek gov’t signs concessions for hydrocarbon exploration in the Ionian Sea

The Greek government signed the concessions for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation in two Ionian Sea areas, Area 10 in the Kyparissia Gulf with Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) and “Ionio” sea area with a consortium of HELPE and Spain-based Repsol.

In two to four years we will have the first clear picture of hydrocarbon bed exploitation, Environment & Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis said, adding that Greece has incorporated all EU laws on the protection of the environment, which are the strictest in the world.

Today’s concessions, Stathakis said, and similar agreements for the sea west of the island of Crete will complete a large cycle of hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation concessions.

Speaking on behalf of HELPE, president and CEO Efstathios Tsotsoros said that “Hellenic Petroleum is participating in hydrocarbon exploration in seven areas of Greece, which after the signing of concessions for Crete will rise to nine. We succeeded in raising the interest of companies like Exxon Mobil, Total and Edison for Greece, in practical ways.”

Tsotsoros also praised HELPE’s collaboration with Repsol in the Ionian, asserting that the Spanish group had prioritised issues of environmental concern in its projects with Greek and other foreign companies.

Repsol International Activities Director Mikel Erquiaga noted that this is the third contract Repsol is signing in Greece, starting in 2015, and said success rested on relations with local communities environmental respect, fulfilling the obligations of the contract, choosing the right local partners like HELPE and good collaboration with the government and related agencies, state news agency amna reported.

During the signing, Greenpeace activitists staged a protest outside the Environment Ministry.

“The recent dramatic appeal of science for rapid independence from fossil fuels over the next 25 years leads more and more governments to revise their plans for hydrocarbon exploitation. This is not the case for the Greek government, which plans mass-scale hydrocarbon mining at the request of the oil companies themselves,” Greenpeace Hellas said among others in a statement.

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