ATHENS, July 4 Greece has picked two consortiums
led by Energean Oil and Hellenic Petroleum to search
for oil and natural gas in two blocks in the western part of the
country, the energy ministry said on Thursday, as cash-strapped
Athens seeks to save money on energy imports.
Greece, which produces almost no oil or natural gas, aims to
develop potential hydrocarbon reserves as part of an effort to
overhaul its economy and lessen dependence on foreign energy
The Energean Oil-led consortium will explore for oil and gas
near the town of Ioannina in northwestern Greece while the
consortium led by Hellenic Petroleum, Greece's biggest refiner,
will explore near the town of Patras.
"Today we have opened a new page for the Greek market,"
Energy Minister Yannis Maniatis said in a statement. "The
expected benefits are many: an increase in government revenue,
the creation of new jobs."
The ministry said it expects revenues from these two regions
to reach about 11 billion euros ($14.2 billion) over the next 25
Almost 200 fruitless test wells have been bored in various
parts of Greece in the past century, the most recent about 12
years ago. But most of the tests were badly managed or carried
out at the wrong locations, Greek officials said.
Athens spends about 10 billion to 12 billion euros per year
on oil imports. Territorial disputes with neighbouring Turkey
prevent Athens from looking for oil in the country's east.
($1 = 0.7744 euros)
(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Dale Hudson)