Cyprus offshore block 12 may carry more than 7 trln cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, Noble Cyprus manager John Tomich said on Wednesday.
"We made that nice discovery of 7 tcf but we think there is a lot more potentially there and we will be chasing additional gas fields," Tomich said during a press conference for the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Conference to be held in Nicosia next year.
Exploratory drilling conducted by Houston-based Noble Energy in Block 12 of the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, revealed an estimated gross natural gas reserve of 5 to 8 tcf in late-2011, with a gross mean of 7 tcf.
Tomich said the company is now focusing on the appraisal well to be conducted in the first quarter of second quarter of 2013 depending on rig availability.
"We are planning to drill the appraisal well in 2013, depending when a suitable rig is available," he said.
He also noted that Noble will be also searching for oil beneath the natural gas reservoir, noting however that the probability for oil is "small but not zero."
Referring to Noble`s strategic plan, Tomich said in parallel with the appraisal well another key-step is to negotiate with the government an LNG terminal.
Recalling that Cypriot Trade and Industry Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis announced that the government has decided to proceed with a shore-based liquefied natural gas plant at Vasilikos, Tomich said that that will be done " in conjunction with Noble as the lead operator for the project."
He added the base scenario provides for a one-train facility with a capacity of about 5 mln tons per year LNG production coming from block 12.
"Something that is very important for the government and for Noble is the fact that this LNG plan will be expandable to handle additional volumes of gas that could be found in other blocks. So it will be an open access plan and gas could be coming either from block 12 if we are able to find additional gas, or from other operators in Cyprus or indeed maybe there is gas that would be coming from Israel over time as well," he concluded.
The government approved on November 23, last year, the launch of a second licensing round for the remaining 12 offshore blocks. In all, 15 companies and joint ventures, including energy heavyweights such as French Total and Korean KOGAS, have bid for 9 out of the 12 offshore exploration blocks. Bids are being currently evaluated by the government.
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