Greece has received three bids to carry out deepsea oil and gas drilling for the reserves in the west of the country and south of the island of Crete.

Last year, the country floated bid asking companies to offer bids to explore 20 offshore blocks spanning more than 200,000km² across Ionian Sea and south of Crete.

However, in order to get more bidders, the left-wing government extended the deadline for the submission of bids by two months to 14 July, and it expects Russian companies to show interest in the projects.

"It is assessed as a positive step in the country’s attempts to utilise its subsea wealth."

Reuters cited Energy Ministry as saying: "Positive step, taking into account difficult conditions presently prevailing in the oil and gas market.

"It is assessed as a positive step in the country’s attempts to utilise its subsea wealth."

The country signed deal with eurozone creditors earlier this week and has previously tried many times to find oil and gas reserves to increase its revenue.

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Greece previously awarded the first drilling licences for three onshore and offshore blocks in western Greece to Hellenic Petroleum, which is one of the largest oil companies in the Balkan region.

Hellenic Petroleum in a consortium with Petroceltic and Edison International and submitted a successful bid for the Patraikos block, offshore western Greece in 2013.

The Patraikos block is located in the Gulf of Patra spread across an area of 1,892 square kilometres with water depths between 100m and 300m.