Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday that the country will speed up gas exploration initiatives in collaboration with private investors as it seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian energy and establish itself as an energy hub in Europe, Reuters reported.
Greece, which imports around 40% of its annual energy from Russia, has previously produced tiny amounts of oil and attempted to investigate its hydrocarbon potential. However, prior years’ low oil prices, a shift to renewable energy, and a lack of political will have stymied its drilling aspirations.
“Accelerating the exploitation of the country’s national energy resources will allow us if we are lucky and we have exploitable natural gas fields, to boost our energy independence, our energy security,” Mitsotakis said in the Reuters report.
Mitsotakis said that according to his meeting with the country’s hydrocarbons commission and energy industry executives on Tuesday, Greece wants to know by 2023 whether it has gas reserves it can tap and that signs of prospective gas reserves have left the government “optimistic.”
According to Greece’s PM, the country’s objective of increasing renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions by 55% by 2030, in line with EU climate change targets will not be jeopardized.