October 31, 2019 / 2:09 PM / 17 days ago

Hellenic plays down reports of gas find off Crete

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum played down reports on Thursday of a potentially large gas find off Crete, saying speculation was premature.

Citing a senior executive from Hellenic, Greek media reported on Thursday that the refiner had indications for estimated gas reserves of 10 trillion cubic feet (tcf) off Crete, based on past seismic data.

But Hellenic distanced itself from those reports on Thursday. “With the data at our disposal Hellenic Petroleum is not yet in a position to refer to the existence, the size of deposits or whether they are commercially viable,” it said.

Hellenic, in consortium with ExxonMobil and Total, were awarded a license to search for hydrocarbons off the island of Crete last summer.

Past surveys have suggested that the little-explored region off Crete, riven by converging tectonic plates that form folds of petroleum traps, displays promising geology that now requires surveying to confirm any actual deposits.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Deepa Babington

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