Greek PM: Gas exploration to start off Crete in coming days

Nov 6, 2022, 9:15 PM | Updated: Nov 7, 2022, 1:12 pm
In this photo provided by the Greek Prime Minister's Office, Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitso...

In this photo provided by the Greek Prime Minister's Office, Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis listens a question during an interview on Greece's ANTENNA TV , in Athens, Monday, Nov. 7 , 2022. Mitsotakis said U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil will "in the coming days" start seismic exploration for potential natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea off southwestern Greece. (Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister's Office via AP)

(Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister's Office via AP)

              In this photo provided by the Greek Prime Minister's Office, Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis answers a question during an interview on Greece's ANTENNA TV , in Athens, Monday, Nov. 7 , 2022. Mitsotakis said U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil will "in the coming days" start seismic exploration for potential natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea off southwestern Greece.(Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister's Office via AP)
            
              In this photo provided by the Greek Prime Minister's Office, Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis listens a question during an interview on Greece's ANTENNA TV , in Athens, Monday, Nov. 7 , 2022. Mitsotakis said U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil will "in the coming days" start seismic exploration for potential natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea off southwestern Greece. (Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister's Office via AP)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Exxon Mobil is poised to start a delayed gas prospecting project off southwestern Greece, the country’s leader said Monday amid tensions between Greece and Turkey over offshore rights and as Europe seeks alternative energy sources due to the war in Ukraine.

The U.S. energy giant will start seismic exploration “in the coming days” southwest of the southern Peloponnese peninsula and the island of Crete, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told private Antenna TV.

The project has been heavily criticized by environmental groups, which argue that the deep-sea prospecting would have “unbearable” consequences on endangered Mediterranean whales and dolphins. Critics also highlight the potential risk of spills, and say the project, if successful, would increase Greece’s use of fossil fuels amid the planet’s climate change crisis.

Mitsotakis insisted Monday that Greece remains dedicated to “fast green transition.” But he added: “Our country … must ascertain whether it currently has the ability to produce natural gas, which would contribute not only to our own energy security but also to that of Europe.”

European countries are scrambling to replace their former dependency on Russian fossil fuels following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent damaging of pipelines designed to bring natural gas from Russia to Germany.

Meanwhile, Greece and Turkey are at loggerheads over offshore exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean, and Turkish prospecting east of Crete in 2020 prompted a military build-up and bellicose rhetoric.

In 2019, Greece granted rights for exploration — which, however, didn’t go ahead — in two blocks of seabed south and southwest of the island of Crete to a consortium of TotalEnergies and Exxon Mobil with Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum.

The areas include the Mediterranean’s deepest waters. The Hellenic Trench, at 5,267 meters (17,300 feet) is a vital habitat for the sea’s few hundred sperm whales, and for other cetaceans already threatened by fishing, collisions with ships and plastic pollution.

These mammals are particularly sensitive to the underwater noise produced by seismic surveys for fossil fuels, in which sound waves are bounced off the seabed to locate potential deposits. Sonar used by warships has been shown to have deadly effects on whales, and experts say seismic surveys can do the same.

In his interview Monday, Mitsotakis also said Greece has canceled a tender under way to privatize the northeastern port of Alexandroupolis. The port, which Athens plans to turn into an energy hub receiving liquefied natural gas shipments, lies near the Turkish border and is also a key logistics center for U.S. military personnel and equipment deployed to Eastern Europe.

“The government has decided that currently Alexandroupolis is of such strategic, geopolitical and energy-linked importance to our country that it must remain in public ownership,” Mitsotakis said.

___

Follow all AP stories about climate change issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

murders...
Associated Press

Renton man gets 10 years in prison in drug trafficking case

A federal judge has sentenced a Renton, Washington man to 10 years in prison for his role in a violent drug distribution ring, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Saturday’s Scores

PREP FOOTBALL= WIAA Playoff= Class 4A= Semifinal= Kennedy 42, Emerald Ridge 28 Class 3A= Semifinal= Yelm 28, Bellevue 27 Class 2B= Semifinal= Napavine 49, Jenkins Jr/Sr High (Chewelah) 6 Okanogan 42, Pe Ell/Willapa Valley 14 Class 1A= Semifinal= Mount Baker 14, Nooksack Valley 13 Class 1B= Semifinal= Liberty Bell 70, Odessa 24 Neah Bay 82, […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: 1 killed, 3 shot breaking into Georgia home

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (AP) — An 18-year-old was killed and three others were injured Friday in a shooting after they attempted to break into a DeKalb County home, police said. Officers arrived around 5 p.m. and found three people — a 23-year-old, 18-year-old and 15-year-old — who had been shot, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. All […]
18 hours ago
A crime scene is taped off at New Season Church in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Me...
Associated Press

Drive-by shooting injures 2 at funeral at Nashville church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A drive-by shooting in Nashville on Saturday injured two people as they and others were walking out of church from the funeral of a woman who was fatally shot earlier this month, according to police. Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron said the afternoon shooting occurred outside New Season Church, […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Nick Fuentes, far-right activist, holds a rally at the Lansing Capitol, in Lansing, Mich., N...
Associated Press

Trump faulted for dinner with white nationalist, rapper Ye

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is renewing attention to his long history of turning a blind eye to bigotry after dining with a Holocaust-denying white nationalist and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West just days into his third campaign for the White House. Trump had dinner Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago club […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

12-year-old dies in Russian Roulette; murder charges brought

A 12-year-old boy is dead after playing Russian Roulette with peers in Jackson, Mississippi, police say. Jackson’s Deputy Police Chief Deric Hearn identified the boy as Markell Noah, according to reports by Mississippi-based WLBT-TV. Following the death officers arrested two juveniles and one adult Friday. Police say the two juveniles are being charged with murder […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Greek PM: Gas exploration to start off Crete in coming days