Greece on Thursday authorised Exxon Mobil and Total to search for gas and oil reserves off Crete in the Mediterranean as part of a consortium with national group Hellenic Petroleum.
The exploration will take place in an untouched 40,000 square kilometre area which the experts believe is likely to yield hydrocarbons.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that exploration is expected to show within two years whether there are reserves.
Greece has been drawing oil since the 1970s from a small field in the northern Aegean, between the port of Kavala and the island of Thassos, but the output covers just around five per cent of the country’s needs.
Exxon Mobil Corporation is an American multinational oil and gas corporation headquartered in Irving, Texas. It is one of the largest world’s big oil companies. As of 2007, it had daily production of 3.921 million BOE (barrels of oil equivalent).
Total is a French multinational integrated oil and gas company founded in 1924 and one of the seven “Super major” oil companies in the world.
Its businesses cover the entire oil and gas chain, from crude oil and natural gas exploration and production to power generation, transportation, refining, petroleum product marketing, and international crude oil and product trading.
Total is also a large scale chemicals manufacturer. (dpa/NAN)