Defense minister to be granted control of hydrocarbons activity

* This article has been uploaded as an April Fools’ Day joke.

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos’s recent proposal to the USA for joint exploitation of Aegean Sea hydrocarbon deposits, with 80-20 or 70-30 shares, Greece maintaining the majority stake, may have appeared to be a surprise move by the minister, who heads the conservative Independent Greeks party – the coalition government’s junior partner – without prior consent from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. However, latest developments prove it was an orchestrated initiative.

According to cross-examined information obtained by enerypress, the Defense Minister’s portfolio will be expanded to include authority over hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activity. As a result, the ministry will have authority over EDEY, the Greek Hydrocarbon Management Company.

The additional role for the Defense Ministry has been linked to Greek hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation aspirations in the Aegean Sea, a region where “one must overcome unresolved issues with Turkey in order to pursue an oil policy,” as one sector authority told energypress.

Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis, a member of the coalition government’s senior partner, the leftist Syriza party, is believed to be particularly dissatisfied by the decision, expected to soon take away his authority over hydrocarbons activity. At a news conference yesterday, he refused to comment on Kammenos’s offer extended to the USA.

Despite the energy-related portfolio revision – expected to be officially announced before the mid-July deadline of a tender for twenty offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea, western Greece, and south of Crete – the Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Ministry will maintain control of the country’s Petroleum Policy Directorate, which may sweeten the pill for Lafazanis. However, the combination will surely lead to overlapping powers and prompt friction between the two ministries headed by Lafazanis and Kammenos.