Preliminary hydrocarbon exploration work planned by oil companies at licenses in the Ionian Sea and south of Crete is being postponed for an indefinite period that could last as much as a year, possibly more.
Upstream players are revising plans as a result of the collapse in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, a double setback for the sector.
Worse still, investment conditions for the Ionian Sea and Crete areas are made even more challenging by the fact that neither has yet to reveal sustainable fields.
In addition, both Greek zones are deep-sea areas of depths ranging from 2,500 to 3,000 meters, making exploration a high-cost venture.
Global oil majors are reducing investments and expenses by the billions in response to the unfavorable market conditions that have emerged over the past couple of months.
Fields with proven reserves have not been spared, which pushes untested fields such as those in Greece even further down the priority list.
The resumption of drilling ventures still at preliminary stages is not likely until oil prices rebound, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis noted in an interview with Greek daily To Ethnos.
It is a similar picture for Cyprus. The Eni-Total consortium yesterday announced it is postponing oil drilling activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone until March or April next year.