Gas and oil drilling in the Ionian Sea, and specifically in the Gulf of Patras and Katakolo, will start in 2019, Yiannis Bassias, president of the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management S.A. (HHRM S.A.) said in an event on Tuesday.
A campaign is also underway for the promotion of marine areas in the Ionian and Crete.
In the West Patras Gulf, the consortium of Greek Petroleum and Edison is planning the first of the two to five exploration drills to follow in 2019. In Katakolo, a region that has been assigned to Energean, there are confirmed stocks of 10.5 million barrels. Production drilling will also take place next year with the view to start the production in 2020.
Greece's Ionian Sea and the south of Crete region are unexplored. The prospective basins consist of carbonate platforms and transition zones to the east toward continental Greece.
Exploration in this frontier region will be assisted by ports in Igoumenitsa, Astakos, and Patras. Entrepreneurs in Greece are also involved in secondary and tertiary service during this exploration phase, according to Bassias.
In 2013, a tender for blocks offshore Crete received no bids, but subsequent discovery of the giant Zohr field in offshore Egypt increased interest in the area. Similar geological structures were identified in nearby Cyprus and Crete.
"The existence of two petroleum systems-clastic Nile Delta and carbonate reefs-has changed the view of these types of plays in Greece's deepwater areas," Bassias told Oil and Gas Journal.
The Ionian Sea contains a vast amount of carbonate reefs. Traditionally, these play types require a lot of surface to offer large reservoirs. But Greece offers a compacted, highly folded carbonate environment with potentially high reserves, according to Bassias.