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New exploration opportunities in Greece with new geophysical techniques for improved geologic understanding and hydrocarbon prospecting

Jason Robinson, Antonis Angelopoulos, and Spyridon Bellas

There is a revival of hydrocarbon exploration in Greece. Greece has an ancient history of hydrocarbons where Herodotus (480 bc) reported pitch springs on Zakynthos Island. In 2011 the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change developed a new legal and technical framework to attract exploration and investment. The most recent activity to stimulate offshore exploration extends from the Ionian Sea around to the south of Crete and is in advance of a bid round in 2014.

Prior to the 1960’s exploration activity in Greece onshore was guided by oil seeps. In the 1970’s the Aegean Sea yielded the discovery of Prinos and Kavala off the Coast of Thasos Island. Between 1977 and 1987 significant seismic acquisition and drilling activity along the shallow waters of western Greece provided a better understanding of potential petroleum systems and led to the offshore discovery of Katakolon in 1981. There were more investigations in 2000 but activity ceased due to company acquisitions.

In the hiatus since 2000 technologies have improved dramatically and petroleum systems and play type understanding has broadened. Both geophysical techniques and deep water drilling have made offshore western Greece accessible for new ventures. The recently acquired seismic and gradiometry data are designed to reveal both regional structural geology as well as prospective areas. These data build on initial understanding but with enhanced imaging of the trapping styles of the Eocene-Cretaceous carbonates where there have been hydrocarbon shows, mapping the Jurassic carbonates/shales and imaging Triassic evaporites that have not yet been penetrated past drilling campaigns. To the south of Crete Island the data reveals the pre-Messinian accretionary wedge and the Mediterranean ridge.

The new data enables a new regional understanding for basin evaluation and structural history reconstruction and the identification of potential petroleum systems will ensure interest in the 2014 bid round.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90161©2013 AAPG European Regional Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 8-10 April 2013