The Greek government has provided the positions of the three blocks - two located off the coast of the island of Crete and one in the Ionian Sea - for which the licensing procedures for the exploration licenses have already begun. The site in the Ionian Sea occupies an area of about 6,671 square kilometers and is located to the north of the island of Kefalonia and to the west of the Lefkada islands and Corfu. The license offered for Crete concerns an area southwest of the island covering an area of 19,868 square kilometers and another one off the west coast covering 20,058 square kilometers. On the 14th of August, the Greek government launched new tenders for hydrocarbon exploration and exploration activities in the Ionian Sea and off the coast of Crete. The new procedures pertaining to these offshore activities were launched after requests submitted by the Total-ExxonMobil- Hellenic Petroleum consortium who are interested in operating in the southwestern part of Crete, and by the company Energean Oil & Gas, a candidate for activities in the Ionian Sea. The Greek Energy Minister, George Stathakis has signed the relevant ministerial decisions by inviting all candidates to show an interest within 90 days of the official launch of the tenders. In recent days, Mr Stathakis has repeatedly called the completion of the oil exploration tenders "a priority" of the Greek government.