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Greece received expression of interest from eight companies to conduct seismic and geological surveys for oil in its western seas, as Athens seeks resources to cut its energy imports bill, the energy ministry said Friday.
The bidders are: Norway's TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co. ASA (TGS.OS), Fugro Multiclient Services AS, Spectrum Geo Ltd., Dolphin Geophysical and Petroleum Geo-Services, U.S. company ION Geophysical Corp. (IO), France's CGG Veritas (CGV) and the U.K.'s Spec Partners Ltd., a ministry statement said.
The firms are interested in conducting seismic research for hydrocarbons in the Ionian Sea and the sea south of the island of Crete.
The evaluation of tenders will be completed by early April, so that the successful bidder or bidders can proceed immediately with research and then interpret the data that will arise, the statement says. The Greek Energy Ministry aims to launch a tender for exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the area by the end of the year.
Battered by recession, Greece is dependent more than most European countries on oil and gas imports. It spends between EUR10 billion and EUR12 billion a year on oil imports, about 5% of its gross domestic product.
It produces a few thousand barrels of oil a day in the northern Aegean Sea and consumes about 120 million barrels of oil and 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.
Previously attempts at oil research have been partially suspended over disputes with Turkey over territorial rights to the Aegean waters. Greece aims to start the first test drilling for oil in undisputed waters of the west coast.
Recently, Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) announced five natural-gas discoveries near Cyprus, building on a string of successes in the eastern Mediterranean. The gas finds are estimated at 33 trillion cubic feet.
-By Nektaria Stamouli, Dow Jones Newswires; +30 210 373 1775; firstname.lastname@example.org