US, Greece hail cooperation in hydrocarbon exploration off Crete
Greek and American officials have welcomed the partnership between oil giants ExxonMobil of the US, Total of France and Hellenic Petroleum in two offshore exploration licenses off Crete and “look forward to forging new partnerships in this sector,” the US Department of State said in an announcement on Monday, following the second high-level meeting of the Strategic Dialogue Energy Working Group.
The virtual meeting was attended by US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon, US Department of Energy Undersecretary for Energy Mark Menezes, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Kostantinos Fragkogiannis and Deputy Minister of Energy Gerassimos Thomas, and “reaffirmed Greece’s and United States’ commitment to working together in support of diversifying energy sources in South East Europe, working with regional partners in the Eastern Mediterranean to develop energy resources and to promoting regional energy security.”
Among the topics discussed by the group was the potential of private investments from the United States in the Greek energy sector and expanding cooperation in renewables, following new legislation passed by Athens facilitating such investments.
The delegations also expressed their continued support for the 3+1 mechanism and the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, while underlining “the need for all states of the Eastern Mediterranean region to conduct their activities in accordance with international law, including the international law of the sea as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, and promote good neighborly relations to the benefit of regional stability and security, thus creating a conducive environment for the diversification of energy resources and routes.”
According to the State Department announcement, Fannon highlighted progress on the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, and the Alexandroupoli floating storage regasification unit project and Kavala underground gas storage project, both in northern Greece. He expressed support for the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, whose construction is currently under way, and for the Interconnection Greece-North Macedonia
The Energy Working Group is an extension of the US-Greece Strategic Dialogue meetings held in December 2018 and October 2019.