HEREMA - Upstream Oil and Gas Exploration - Regulatory Framework


The rights to carry out exploration and production activities pertain exclusively to the Greek state.

The legal framework applicable to the upstream hydrocarbon sector in Greece is stipulated by Law 2289/1995 on the Research, Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons, which also lays out the requirements for the licensing of prospecting, exploration, and productions rights.

Law 2289/1995 was later amended by Law 4001/2011, in an effort to create a more conducive investment landscape, which established Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management S.A. (the precursor of HEREMA) as the competent authority for the management and assignment of these rights on behalf of the Greek state.

Exploration and production rights are licensed by HEREMA through either lease agreements or production sharing agreements, where each agreement may correspond to one or more adjacent land or underwater areas and be granted to more than one applicant.

Each agreement signed between HEREMA and a concessionaire is subsequently and separately ratified by Greek law.


With Greece being one of the strictest EU jurisdictions from an environmental perspective, safeguarding the environment is equally important for HEREMA as the effective stewardship of assets. This bears particular relevance for any activities undertaken within the marine environment where strict protocols have been put in place to ensure the highest possible standards of environmental protection – in some cases doubling these criteria – particularly with respect to marine life.

This approach applies to the full lifecycle of projects from seismic surveys to drilling to eventual production. To ensure best-in-class practices are upheld at all times, HEREMA has partnered with flagship independent research organisations including the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research and the University of Patras.

Lessees’ compliance with Strategic Environmental Impact Assessments (SEIA) is mandatory. Such assessments are initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Energy and approved by the Special Environmental Service. It should be noted that each exploration and production project will require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and may only commence after the relevant EIA license has been granted (Law no. 4014/2011). It should be noted that geophysical surveys do not belong to the projects and activities for which environmental licensing is required according to Law 4014/2011 and the current classification of projects (under no. DIPA/oc.37674/2016 decision of the Minister of Environment and Energy, Official B΄ 2471, and no. 46294/2013 decision of the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Official Gazette B΄ 2001). Given that geophysical surveys are not subject to an EIA, but since minor environmental impacts are reasonably expected to occur, it has been accepted as necessary to draw up Environmental Action Plans (EAP), as described in the signed Lease agreements in order to determine the assessment and mitigation of any environmental impacts.