Greece begins gas exploration off the coast of Crete

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Greece’s Environment and Energy Minister, Kostas Skrekas, has confirmed that gas exploration has begun in offshore areas west and southwest of the island of Crete.

Skrekas said US energy giant ExxonMobil’s ship is already in operation in the area just four days after Greece’s Prime Minister announced the project was to start.

“The ship has begun. At this moment it is laying the cables” which are needed for the sonic waves used in the prospecting, Skrekas said.

“The reserves we speculate exist southwest of Crete and the Peloponnese might be the last hope the mining industry has to find a large reserve … in the region of southeastern Europe, in our region,” he said.

However, he noted, “until we drill and see what is really there, everything is on the level of speculation.”

The move comes amid heightened tensions with neighbouring Turkey, and is a project that has been heavily criticized by environmental groups.

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