Greece will accelerate its hydrocarbon drilling and gas exploration to reduce its reliance on Russian energy, the country’s prime minister said on Tuesday.
The move comes as several other European countries are looking to cut their dependence on Russian energy, principally due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, now on day 48.
“We have indications that make us cautiously optimistic,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a visit to the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management, according to public broadcaster ERT.
“We have to know with certainty whether there are reserves that are economically viable to extract. We will know by the end of 2023.”
He underlined that reducing reliance on Russian natural gas and the search for fossil fuel solutions, which would ensure the country’s self-sufficiency and more affordable prices, are the only options for Greece.
The effort will particularly concentrate on six areas – one in the northern Epirus region and five offshore locations within exclusive economic zones, including the Ionian Sea, Gulf of Kyparissia, and Crete.
Mitsotakis, however, said the country will not abandon its long-term goal of reducing carbon emissions.
As part of reducing its dependence on Russian energy, on April 7 Greece announced that it will double its production of lignite.
Before the Russia-Ukraine war started, Russia provided for around 40% of Greece’s natural gas consumption.
By Ahmet Gencturk