Smiles Remain for Athens
Opening Session Speech
Ladies and gentlemen:
I feel honored for being able to address this very distinguished audience of the excellency of the international oil industry. Many thanks to AAPG Europe branch and the organizers of the congress for giving me this opportunity – and especially István (Bérczi, ER president), a person that honored the presidency of EFG where I represent Greek geologists.
In the country where myths and history merge let me tell you the last myth of this congress: It is the Aesop’s swear grapes myth.
A fox in the country shows the grapes sitting high enough to be collected easily. After many trials of jumping and jumping she realized that was impossible to eat them, and says its OK to leave them as they are.
I make this paragon with the actual situation in Greece, because after many years of trials I don’t won’t to be said that oil exploration in Greece is like Aesop’s grapes and abandon the efforts.
Starting from the slogan of the congress, ‘’Challenge the Myth,’’ I go further by saying “discover what is behind the myth,” (and) what are the needs of the modern world?
In our profession myths are provocative and many times in the past constituted the driving force of exploration campaigns. I mention the myths like Jason and the Golden Fleece at Cholchis, Queen Sheba and others.
And now a myth that seems to be false at the present time is the myth of the END OF OIL ERA.
In the last few years we all hear that oil prices above US $40 constituted the upper limit of a new oil crisis; today prices are well above US $85, and nothing has happened yet. No one stopped filling up his own car with gasoline.
Oil prices, according to Pierre Lemiux of the institute Von Mises, during the last 40 years (dollar values of July 2005) are well bellow the oil prices of 1979 after Iranian revolution.
At present we are well behind in replacing oil with alternative energy sources that are capable for this and widely acceptable from the community and environmentalists.
Oil will remain the main energy source for the years to come.
This means that geologists and oil companies are forced to go further in most remote areas and deeper waters.
Coming back to Greece, after the 1990s a new law went in vigor and the first round of concessions followed (Western Greece).
Following the privatization of the national oil company (Hellenic Petroleum) that is still going on, some administrative ambiguities have to be solved allowing the government to lunch a new round.
Our association is promoting solutions (advising the government accordingly) toward this direction, which will help the national economy.
Finally on behalf of AGG, which numbers thousands of geologists serving different sectors of the Greek economy and those involved in the oil industry, we thank you for choosing Greece for the congress.
I hope that you enjoy your stay, and we wish you to have good time in the field trips – and in going back home take with you some myths to discover when you come back.
PS: Emeritus geology professor H. Mariolakos of University of Athens is devoted in a new field of geology –geomythology! He is trying to find links between mythology and history by using geological tools and observations.