A court hearing concerning a legal case filed by environmental groups challenging an environmental impact assessment for prospective hydrocarbon exploration at two offshore licenses, west and southwest of Crete, by a consortium consisting of Total, ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), has been suspended for a fourth time since 2019 by the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, which has set a new date, October 5, 2022, according to sources.
The latest delay comes as a setback for the three-member consortium, which faces a first-stage exploration deadline preceding the new trial date.
Total, ExxonMobil and ELPE have planned seismic surveys at the two licenses, believed to offer natural gas production potential, but the trio cannot proceed with any exploration activity unless it overcomes this legal challenge.
Authorities tasked with assisting the government in legal action taken by environmental groups are seeking to move forward the new trial date, for a swifter conclusion.
The latest court delay highlights fears previously raised by upstream officials believing the country’s official policy on hydrocarbon deposit utilization remains ambiguous.
It remains to be seen how Total, ExxonMobil and ELPE will react to the hearing’s latest delay.