Seismic surveys to search for natural gas began on Thursday in offshore areas west and southwest of Crete, Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said in an interview with state broadcaster ERT.
“The ship has begun its work. It is letting out the cables with the headphones that it drags behind it, with which…. it can determine geological structures,” the minister said about ship SANCO SWIFT.
He underlined that “the field which we suspect exists southwest of Crete and the Peloponnese may be the last hope that the [oil and gas] extraction industry has of finding a large natural gas field in the region of Eastern Europe.”
The seismic survey is being conducted by the ExxonMobil/HelleniQ Energy joint venture that owns the rights in the area. Provided that the results are encouraging, exploratory drilling will continue at the end of 2026 followed by the exploitation of the deposits in 2027.
With regard to the protection of the environment, Skrekas said that the best global practices are being applied and that the environmental legislation of Greece is very strict and will be respected, state-run news agency amna reported.
The seismic surveys began just a few days after PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced them on Monday.