Country’s west to benefit from hydrocarbons, minister tells locals

Speaking to local authorities today at an event in port-city Patras, western Greece, ahead of his upcoming visit to the USA to promote the country’s imminent international tender for exploration and exploitation rights of blocks in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete, Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis focused on the potential revenues and increased jobs to be created for the region by the venture.

“Most importantly, annual revenues for the local community will reach between 110 and 150 million euros, while 1,000 new jobs will be created, directly and indirectly,” the minister told the Patras event.

Complementing these remarks, the region’s top administrative official, Apostolos Katsifaras, noted that hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation promised to create a new economy for western Greece.

“We are ready to take on these [opportunities] to benefit citizens by opening up a new chapter for the national, and, by extension, regional economy,” Katsifaras said.

The regional administrative leader took the opportunity to reiterate a long-standing demand by local officials and citizens for the availability of natural gas in the Patras area.

“We want and demand equal rights for our growth potential. This is what we want and what we are asking for from the national government, which is responsible,” Katsifaras told the visiting minister, while noting the demand for natural gas in Patras stood independently of the region’s hydrocarbon prospects.

In response, Maniatis – while noting that natural gas networks currently existed in Athens, Thessaloniki and parts of Thessalia, in the mid-northeast – underlined that the expansion of natural gas availability was a priority in western Greece as well as other parts of the country. The minister said that, for the time being, this would be accomplished through LNG and CNG solutions, as pipeline infrastructure would take many years to complete. A business plan prepared by DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, will be forwarded for public consultation within the next three months, the minister noted, which will contain initiatives related to the natural gas expansion plan.