Kassinis recommends that the Greek government by the end of this year award winning bids for seismic research, and also issue a map that would indicate Athens’ intention to declare its EEZ. The communication was just revealed in a wire from Greece’s state-run Athens News Agency.
In early September, the Greek government issued a call for interested companies to submit offers for seismic and geophysical research offshore along the entire western coast of Greece, and 100 miles south of Crete, up to the eastern tip of the island. But the government has dragged its feet in declaring its EEZ even in these regions.
Most analysts believe that this is the direct result of diachronic Turkish threats. Deputy Premier Theodoros Pangalos admitted as much in an interview some months ago. Greece continues to avoid delineating its EEZ with Cyprus, because the border between the two EEZs is joined by the continental shelf of the Greek island of Kastellorizo, which Turkey disputes.
Energy expert Costis Stambolis, of the Athens-based Institute of Energy for South East Europe, told the Athens News that pressure from Greece’s lenders pushed the government to action. “The troika is pressuring the government hard to explore all possible means to increase revenues. One of these is exploration of Greece’s proven and possible hydrocarbons,” he said. “That explains the government’s recent hyperactivity, and its pushing within a month to announce two calls”. One for seismic and geophysical research and the other for an open door procedure for three specific regions: the Patras Gulf, Katakolo, and the onshore area around Ioannina. The three areas would yield an estimated 300 million barrels of oil combined, whereas the area south of Crete and that joining the Greek and Cyprus EEZs are believed to have potentially enormous deposit.