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Greece to Hold Oil, Gas Licensing Round in First Half of 2014

Greece plans to hold a licensing round for the exploration of oil and natural gas in the Ionian Sea and south of the island of Crete in the first half of 2014, the energy ministry said.

The Nordic Explorer research vessel of Norway’s Petroleum Geo-Services ASA will begin Nov. 11 a three-month long seismic survey of the Ionian Sea and the maritime zone south of Crete in an area that covers a total 220,000 square kilometers, which is 40 percent larger than mainland Greece, the Athens-based ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.

Processing and interpretation of the data from the survey should be completed by mid-2013, with the aim of holding the licensing round for exploration blocks in the first half of 2014, according to the statement.

Houston, Texas-based Noble Energy Inc said Dec.28 it found as much as 8 trillion cubic feet of gas off the southern coast of Cyprus. The geological conditions in this area may extend west to south of Crete, former Greek energy minister George Papaconstantinou said in an interview March 6.

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