GREECE: Is there more to George Tragas than gas? TV journo guest rekindles Crete find rumours.


Rumours that Samaras “has secret deal”

All-round tough journalist, rabble-rousing investigator and standard-issue anti-Semite George Tragas has a Sunday show on Greek TV each week called Sniper. His guest last night was Minerologist professor Antonis Foskolos, a chap who has, since 2011, been a regular rent-a-quote on the subject of Greek gas finds.

According to the professor, “..the 2 areas that have significant scientific evidence are south of Crete, and the 9 mud volcanos in the Greek Herodotus basin. He stunned the Mediterranean nations three years ago by claiming that there could be ‘1.5 trillion cubic metres’ of gas in the find….more than Iran is thought to have in reserves. There is, of course, the 64 trillion dollar question of how one gets at it, as Iran’s reservoir is somewhat nearer the surface. But news of the find has always helped explained the unhealthy interest the US has in the future of Greece – and why Alexis Tsipras of Left-wing Party Syriza has been assiduous in his courting of Washington.

Things have moved on and Norwegian surveys have been undertaken that, according to Foskolos, show Greece having “richer energy deposits than Saudi Arabia”. But last night he revealed two things hitherto unknown among the Greek general public:

1. Foskolos told Tragas on air that there are rare earth calcium and hydrate compound deposits “worth tens of trillions of euros” off the southern coast and to the South-East of Crete.

2. He added that only 20% of the income from this will go to Greece.

The ramifications of this are incalculable – in terms of the Greek Energy Zone dispute between Athens and Ankara, why Samaras hasn’t announced the confirmed find or used it as collateral against Greek debt, and why on Earth the Greeks are giving 80% of the find away.

How seriously the revelations will be taken remains to be seen: but sources in Athens were last night suspicious that corruption in the Samaras Government was once more in play here.

The EU will have an energy deficiency increasing its reliance on Russia with ten years unless new finds change that. Last year, the Slog reported an unsceduled US navy extended visit to Crete, which the Greek Establishment dismissed as “normal NATO practice”….except it wasn’t recorded in the ship’s log, and wasn’t part of the pre-voyage schedule. Last January, Russia’s Gazprom offered an overpriced $2bn for Greece’s main energy company, a move that had Washington demanding Athens turn down the offer.

Energy geopolitics continue to rule the world. Stay tuned.

Related: Greece & Turkey & Energy