Three years ago, an affiliate of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE), a renowned non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of energy economics, was established in Greece by Dr. Kostas Andriosopoulos. Known for his expertise in energy financing and the geopolitics of energy, Andriosopoulos decided to bring IAEE to his home country to strengthen Greece’s role in the European energy transition. The Hellenic Association for Energy Economics (HAEE) now works tirelessly to produce research on the Greek energy sector and bring together experts from all around the world to discuss energy economics and Greece’s burgeoning role in the industry.
“We promote ourselves as being the bridge between the Greek energy sector and the global energy scene with a large pool of experts from the academia, from the public sector, policy makers, and of course the industry,” said Andriosopoulos, who serves as HAEE’s president.
One of its many events, the organisation puts together an annual conference in Athens where key players meet to exchange ideas on current energy events and opportunities in the Greek energy sector. The third annual conference, held in May and entitled “Energy Transition: European and Global Perspectives”, brought together C-level executives from leading national and international energy corporates, academics, diplomats, and leading government members from both Greece and the European Union. It focused in part on the sensitive and ever-changing geopolitical landscape of Southeast Europe and the region’s need for a stable energy environment.
Greece is well positioned to provide that stability, given its geographical location at the heart of most of the energy connections in the area. Hydrocarbons are being discovered all around Greece. Earlier this year, a group of major international energy companies submitted bids to explore two oil and gas fields off of Greece’s coast, one near Crete and the other in the Ionian Sea. This follows a recent wave of natural gas discoveries in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone, beginning in 2011 with the discovery of the Aphrodite field. Italy’s Eni, a multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome, made a huge breakthrough in 2015 with its discovery of an offshore natural gas field in the Egyptian sector of the Mediterranean Sea, the Zohr field. Other countries on the Mediterranean near Greece, including Israel and Lebanon, continue to explore and discover major gas fields.
“The hydrocarbon sector in Greece, or in the greater region of Southeast Europe, is attracting a lot of interest from multinational companies, oil majors from the US, from Russia, from China”, noted Andriosopoulos, who supports hydrocarbon exploration in Greece and believes it can help change the country’s role in European energy security.
A number of International Oil Companies (IOCs) – including US-based Exxon Mobil, France’s Total, and Spain’s Repsol – are involved in licensing rounds in Greece because they believe the country can strike hydrocarbons.
“We recently had a successful licensing round here in Greece, following the big success of our neighbours – Cyprus, Egypt, etc. ”, Andriosopoulos explained, “and I think that is what has created a lot of positive momentum for the region”.
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