Total, ExxonMobil consortium to end seismic surveys off Crete

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A consortium by energy giants Total, ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is set to indefinitely freeze the hydrocarbon explorations in two marine plots south and west of the Crete, according to reports.

In the work plan submitted to the Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management by the consortium, conducting seismic surveys this year off Crete was not included, according to a report released by Philenews, a Greek language daily paper published in the Greek Cypriot administration.

According to the initial planning of the consortium, the seismic surveys in Crete were to be carried out in the first possible time period, reportedly “in January-February 2022.”

Under the concession agreement, the consortium must conduct seismic surveys within three years after signing the contract in 2019 which means the surveys should at least begin by October 2022, the report said.

“However, as the relevant activities are chosen to take place from November to April, in order not to disturb the mammalian reproduction, it is clear that the decision not to carry out the seismic recordings this winter is essentially equivalent to an early end for the research activities in the area,” the report concluded, which would change if the consortium revises its work plan or the relevant authority would extend the time of fulfillment of the contractual obligation.

However, according to sources mentioned by the Greek paper, the consortium has not submitted a request for an extension.

In contrast to Greece, however, the two foreign companies of the consortium, namely French Total and United States’ ExxonMobil, were said to proceed their activities around Cyprus.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has most recently voiced its concerns over the planned subsea pipeline to provide natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe, Greek sources said.

It displayed an apparent U-turn over a project supported by the Trump administration.

Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration and Israel have approved an agreement for the East Med pipeline, which has been in the planning stage for several years. The countries had aimed to reach a final investment decision this year and have the 6 billion euro ($6.82 billion) scheme completed by 2025 to help Europe diversify its energy resources. -Agencies