The contracts for hydrocarbon exploration in four areas off Crete and Ionian islands were tabled in the Greek parliament on Wednesday evening for ratification.
The contracts include the sea area designated 'Ionio' (Spain-based consortium Repsol Exploracion/Hellenic Petroleum or HELPE); 'Block 10 Ionian Sea' in the Gulf of Kyparissia, SW Peloponnese (HELPE); and the maritime areas west and southwest of Crete (consortium of Total, ExxonMobil and HELPE).
Ratifying the contracts will strengthen the sector's contribution to the Greek economy, the introductory report said, while they will provide valuable offsets to local communities and revenues to the state budget.
In addition, ratification will further establish Greece's role as an energy hub, following up on the TAP natural gas pipeline and other concessions. The latter include the areas designated as 'Katakolo', 'Ioannina', 'Patras Gulf (West)', all signed in 2014; and 'Etoloakarnania', 'Northwest Peloponnese', 'Arta/Preveza' and Maritime Area 2 in the Ionian Sea, all signed in 2018.
The drilling "essentially concerns the exercise of national sovereignty and national sovereign rights by the Greek state on hydrocarbon resources," the report said.
Provisions of the contracts for the Cretan and Ionian beds include an 8-year limit on exploration, and a 25-year limit on exploitation. If hydrocarbons are found, the state stands to gain 40 pct of the total investment revenues, broken down as follows: 20 pct as income tax plus 5 pct as regional tax, with the rest being income on royalties based on a rising scale linked to hydrocarbon volume.
In addition, the contracts include strict regulations on environmental protection and reduction of environmental threats at both exploration and exploitation stages.