Spanish energy company Repsol and Greece-based Hellenic Petroleum have signed lease agreements to conduct exploration in two offshore blocks in Greece.

The joint venture (JV) of the two companies will conduct oil and gas exploration in an offshore block in the Ionian Sea. Hellenic Petroleum will also carry out exploration in another block off the Peloponnese peninsula.

Reuters reported that the two blocks are situated in the western region of the country, an underexplored area with very little information on its hydrocarbon potentiality.

The agreement comes at a time when Greece is working to bolster its oil and gas sector with major discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean region.

Hellenic also has rights to explore oil and gas in other offshore and onshore areas of the country, with plans to conduct the first test drilling off the Peloponnese peninsula in 2020.

“A big round of lease agreements for the exploration and development of hydrocarbons is closing with these two agreements we are signing today.”

Currently, British firm Energean is the only oil producer in the country with a daily output of around 5,000 to 5,500 barrels.

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A consortium of Exxon Mobil, Total and Hellenic secured a tender to explore hydrocarbons off Cret, a Greek island in the Mediterranean Sea. Signing of the agreements and Parliament approval are expected in 2019.

Commenting on the new lease agreements, Greek Energy Minister George Stathakis was quoted by the news agency as saying: “A big round of lease agreements for the exploration and development of hydrocarbons is closing with these two agreements we are signing today and with the two outstanding ones for two offshore blocks south and southwest of Crete.

“We will get a safe preview of the extent and size of the deposits in two to four years.”