GREEK AEGEAN BONANZA: New study confirms potential Greek wealth

A new study commissioned by Antonis Samaras vindicates The Slog’s engineering sources, who have long said that Greece’s undersea wealth was being deliberately understated

I was told categorically during 201o that American engineers working for previous Greek governments had deliberately understated the energy and rare earths potential beneath Greece’s territorial waters. An entirely different but equally qualified source told me the following year that the EU was fully aware of the ploy. Ever since then, The Slog has consistently maintained that, behind the demands of the Troika, a tussle was going on between the US and the EU as to who could benefit most from the country’s mineral and energy potential. Now a new study strongly supports that view.

Greece has “at least” $600 billion worth of gas and oil reserves beneath its territorial waters, according to a new study presented to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras within the last few months. Reuters has also confirmed the story.

Collating all the scientific data available, the study says geological similarities indicate that reserves off Crete alone should match the prolific Levantine Basin, the Israeli and Cypriot discoveries mainly are. Estimates suggest that to the south of Crete lie a minimum of 3.5 trillion cubic metres (tcm) of gas – apparently enough to cover around six years of EU demand. The site almost certainly has roughly 1.5 billion barrels of oil in addition to the gas find.

“We feel this is a very conservative figure,” said Elias Konofagos, whose Athens-based company advises the Samaras government on energy. The two other authors of the report, Antonis Foscolos and Nikos Lygeros, agreed that subsea methane emissions – and the presence of gas hydrate mounds on the seabed – indicated the presence of large reservoirs.

A study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering in June in turn estimated that Greece had 4 tcm of gas and a further 3 billion barrels of crude oil at other sites. And one of the world’s biggest seismic surveyors, Petroleum Geo-Physical (PGS), also wrote in July 2011 of ‘significant hydrocarbon potential’ beneath the Greek waves.

As well as offering ClubMed economies the chance to cut deficits caused by energy shortfalls, the growing evidence of Greek offshore wealth reduces the EU dependence on Russian gas in general – and the gangsters from Gazprom in particular. It also explains the desire of Israel to form an energy alliance with Greece and Cyprus…and the original American plan to ‘amputate’ Greece from the EU, befriend the country, and shower it with aid. What Washington (as ever) hasn’t taken into account is that most Greeks would rather chew glass than be under US hegemony.

Related: Oil prices, and the role of energy in US foreign policy

45 thoughts on “GREEK AEGEAN BONANZA: New study confirms potential Greek wealth

    • P.S. May I also trust that when the impending Euro implosion has bankrupted the majority of the states of Northern Europe and Greece has become one of the major oil and gas producers of the western world, that (since you are from the cradle of human civilisation) you Greeks will treat your newly impoverished ‘Fellow Europeans’ with precisely the same degree of generosity and humanity that they have recently shown to you? ;)

  1. Don’t celebrate yet guys – the ‘Memorandum’ that Greece signed with the Troika gives the EU the rights to buy all greek assets, most particularly its energy assets ie rare earths and gas/oil fields. And you know what happens when people can’t pay their bills – bye bye assets!

  2. According to Zerohedge,a number od German shipping companies have gone bust and the stock bought by Greeks.
    This summer we were fortunate enough to have gained cleaning contracts here in London and even in the Med.We added a number of new clients who we had never served before.A client wanted a full service on a yatch in the Med,nothing new there and our team cleaned it daily.The bills were to go to a company in Belgravia and were promptly settled.The parties onboard were under the auspices of Mr Giocanti.Nearby we also were cleaning eleven other yatchs so our team was under pressure,but they were glad of the money,and the bills were all paid by the company in Belgravia,as were the food,crew wages and fuel bill,all paid in Belgravia.Surprisingly,all these boats were parked off Crete and the cost of servicing was happily borne from the South of France!Eight of the boats had Americans onboard and all were eager to talk oil/gas.
    Strange.

  3. I still don’t get it, if there are such massive reserves in a what is a relatively benign environment (far less harsh than the North Sea for instance) why have these not been tapped before? Greece has been skirting bankrupcty for years, well before the Euro debacle if these respurces were there they would have been well and truly exploited by now.

    • Exactly my thoughts. My other questions were:
      1) has anyone drilled any wells yet?
      2) if they have, did they come up with the goods or were they dry wells?
      3) how fast can the resources be produced if they are indeed there?
      4) who will pay for developing the infrastructure needed to get the gas and oil back to land, processed and shipped off to customers?
      5) how much of the alleged resource can actually be produced? Note that resource-in-place is often significantly less than economically-producible reserves
      6) is the rate of production likely to be high enough to justify the massive capital input required for infrastructure? Is it likely to be high enough to have some available for export, or will the oil and gas be used purely within Greece? How much energy will it take to get the oil out of the ground?

      All in all, I’m currently viewing this as a non-story. If a producing well is drilled and URRs are defined, which I reckon is at least 2 years away, I may change my mind depending on the amount of URR.

      Last comment – over 90 dry wells were put into the North Sea before oil and gas were found. We are a long, long, long way from Greek fossil fuel production.

  4. Gas, Oil & Rare Earth is exactly why Greece is still inside the EU – on the other hand it’s also why Greece has the most absurd and severe austerity demands imposed upon it. The sooner we are totally destroyed beggars the better….

    The big question is WHY does our corrupt PASOK / ND government submit to the austerity comedy? WHY is this sub rosa instead of public knowledge? WHY are the estimates understated? And WHY – unlike the UK in the 1980s and NL in the 1990s – Greece does not immediately proceed to contracts and drilling?

    • Eleni is right on the money above: ‘WHY does our corrupt PASOK / ND government submit to the austerity comedy?’ It is the great imponderable – but of course the old media simply won’t go there.
      Greece has so many cards, but isn’t playing them. The Troika is on a disaster strategy but isn’t changing it. None of it adds up.
      It is four-dimensional geopolitics gone mad.

  5. To answer my own question, Greece hasn’t proceeded to contracts & drilling because the Corrupts in charge have no intention of nationalising any profits.

  6. Pingback: John Ward – Greek Aegean Bonanza : New Study Confirms Potential Greek Wealth – 4 October 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  7. There are no silver bullets !
    No Deus ex Machina !

    Greece is bankrupt. Let’s face it.
    All that Greece needs is some good old style devaluation and Catharsis on the political system and give them some time to pick up their pieces.

    Do not expect magical solutions from hidden oil reserves or aliens come to help.

  8. Good to see the hoary old El Dorado fallacy being trotted out again. One of its latest manifestations was in Afghanistan where, we were solemnly assured two or three years ago, gigantic reserves of rare and precious metals had been discovered “in the mountains” by “highly reputable geological surveys”. But after a while the Afghanistan stories evaporated, thanks partly to the scepticism of the Chinese, who would have been best placed to benefit from an Afghan mineral bonanza.

    It’s not that unexploited mineral reserves (including oil reserves) don’t exist. It’s that the cost of exploiting them, especially in areas of highly complicated geology, tends to be far greater than the minerals are worth. We may believe in an Aegean El Dorado once the oil majors (and the Chinese) fall over themselves in a hectic rush to win drilling rights. Until that happens, scepticism is highly advisable.

    Where will the next El Dorados be? Italy? Spain? Portugal? Ireland? Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen……

    • “It’s not that unexploited mineral reserves (including oil reserves) don’t exist. It’s that the cost of exploiting them, especially in areas of highly complicated geology, tends to be far greater than the minerals are worth”

      Excellent point. Just like Peak Oil isn’t about how much oil is left in the ground (it’s about how fast it can be extracted, i.e. the flow rate), reserves are only reserves if they are economic to exploit. If the economics don’t justify it, these reserves are just inaccessible resources, and calling them reserves is misleading.

      The Bakken field in the USA is another good example – known about for decades, it only became feasible to exploit when the cost of oil soared to heights unimaginable only 15 years ago. Same as for the Canadian oil sands – which up till recently weren’t oil reserves at all, they were booked as mining resources.

      High oil prices will continue to generate hysterical hype while those still in denial about Peak Oil and climate change frantically try to deny the fact that BAU based on cheap energy is gone for good – the cheap energy has all been sucked out of the ground, burned and turned into CO2 which has now trapped so much heat in the atmosphere it has virtually melted the arctic sea ice that used to regulate northern hemisphere weather patterns. And still they want more oil? Deluded fools.

      • I do agree that the El Dorado thing could be overdone: but the logical result of falsely-pretended oil shortages = more oilco profit = more investment in deep/u’water drilling. The more expensive oil becomes, the more it’s worthwhile finding more of the stuff.
        Don’t forget that the corollary is just as pertinent: both the EU & the US have tried to downplay the reserves. Trust me, if there wasn’t something there worth having, the Israelis & Russians wouldn’t be that interested.
        But yes,you’re right: monetary benefit from the reserves is a lot further down the line.

  9. Gary Glitter ‘raped girl, 13, in Savile’s BBC dressing room’… as Jimmy and a third star ‘abused two 14-year-olds’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2212445/Jimmy-Savile-documentary-Gary-Glitter-raped-girl-13-stars-BBC-dressing-room.html#ixzz28KHTgJVP
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    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2212445/Jimmy-Savile-documentary-Gary-Glitter-raped-girl-13-stars-BBC-dressing-room.html

  10. On March 1, 2012, I was asking myself “what currency will the contents of the Greek EEZ be denominated in”. h++p://archaeopteryxgr.blogspot.gr/2012/03/blog-post_01.html . It’s all Greek to you, but I have added a couple of photos form the 1940’s to keep it simple..

  11. “Greece has “at least” $600 billion worth of gas and oil reserves beneath its territorial waters, according to a new study presented to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras within the last few months. Reuters has also confirmed the story.”

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
    Fools!!!
    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

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  13. Dear Greeks,

    leave your gas in the ground until Germany has paid your debt and the reparations of WW II.

    After that Greece can make lots of money and decide what happens in Europe!

  14. Pssssst! Hey Johnny Dub-yuh.. Gotta *hot tip* for ya…
    Turns out there’s lorrie-ton of nazi gold buried in yer momma’s basement. I sez, yous’ & me getz together & go getz it! Whaddah ya say?…

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  20. If Greece is really in possession of hydrocarbons it’s mean they are quickly losing democracy. If Greece lose democracy the NATO help them…
    The Greece expired a fascistic dictatorship 40 y. ago. Now, under weight of debts that increasing by every portion of credits, that back to “international lenders”, more clash will be arose among population. The “heavy hand” will be needed in for the order. To turn Greece to dependency from main oil/gas oligarchs it is not their far away future. It is important not only access to source of oil/gas now, in economic crises time, but and price for this access. In situation than prices go down the profit must be enough for international dwelling & trade companies. All sentiments about freedom, independence, rights of people on their resources is faded under sunlight of Profit.

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