Hydrocarbons have caught the attention of Greek officials who are looking for bids from companies to start exploring the Ionian Sea, just south of Crete. The project is expected to get underway sometime in mid-2015, and is creating a buzz among companies who want to get in on these new projects. What, if anything, this new interest in oil exploration means to the country remains to be seen, but many are optimistic that this could mean new developments for both the country and the region.
Yiannis Maniatis, Greece’s Minister of the Environment, has reported that more than ten companies have already lined up to express their interest in exploring hydrocarbons in these areas. According to the Minister, this is good news that can spell economic prosperity for Greece and surrounding countries.
Companies that undertake this massive project will receive tax breaks for their participation and their presence in the country. The taxes that these companies pay will, in part, go toward building up the surrounding communities and providing much-needed economic stability.
Greece, which is home to billions of barrels of oil and trillions of meters of natural gas, is excited about this prospect. The country’s leaders are hoping this latest discovery will awaken a sluggish economy and pull Greece out of its crippling recession.
The country plans to join forces with Israel to provide oil country tubular goods to more than 50% of Europe. They are hoping to meet the demands of more than half of all of countries in the European Union within 30 years. This spells a long term strategy for growth in the country, and represents a huge turnaround in the country’s chief export profits.
The underwater region that encompasses the Albanian and Italian areas are teeming with natural oil and gas resources, and promises to make Greece the driving force in these commodities for the region. In a recent summit with U.S. president Barack Obama, the Prime Minister of Greece shared his enthusiasm for new oil exploration.
As it stands, companies are already gearing up to get a piece of the action, and are stocking up on supplies like rigs, hoists and pipe thread protectors in order to get a jumpstart on the project. There has even been talk of hiring activities, as these companies want to have time to recruit and train local residents to take on the task. A few companies are planning to import their workers to take advantage of their experience in oil drilling.
While enthusiasm for the prospect of oil exploration in Greece is high, it has its detractors. Energy leaders feel that the opportunity for oil exploration is grossly exaggerated, and that the actual ability to start drilling for oil is many years away. These experts also posit that the government has overstated the amount of oil available, and doubt that it will have the impact that officials are touting.
Leading into its sixth year in a crippling recession, Greece is aching for some good economic news. The country has its fingers crossed that oil will represent the light at the end of the tunnel.
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