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Noble Energy to pursue further exploration drilling in Cyprus block 12

09 December, 2013

Noble Energy which has a concession in Cyprus` block 12 is planning to proceed with further exploration drilling towards the end of 2014, Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotripis has said.

A senior Noble Energy official, who briefed Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on the plans for the development of block 12, noted that the Houston-based company continues to evaluate the results of the appraisal well carried out last October.

"By April Noble will be ready to demonstrate where the next exploratory drilling will take place, as well as to show whether an additional appraisal well for Aphrodite, will be necessary" he said.

Exploration drilling conducted in 2011 in block 12, the A1 well, showed an estimated gross resource range of 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), with a gross mean of 7 Tcf, whereas the appraisal drilling conducted in October 2013 lowered the estimates to a range from 3.6 tcf to 6 Tcf, with a mean of approximately 5 Tcf. However, Noble Cyprus country Manager John Tomich has said that the company sees "a lot of potential" in the bloc as it reconginzed “at least half a dozen separate features/structures."

Asked on the development timeframe, Lakkotripis said that President Anastasiades asked Noble whether it could expedite the exploration drilling, adding however that on the basis of the evaluation work and depending on rig availability "it is difficult to achieve this target sooner than October 2014."

On his part, Keith Elliott, Noble Energy Senior Vice Chairman for the Eastern Mediterranean said the company continues to work on exploration processes and looks at further opportunities.

"We continue to evaluate the results of the A2 well and look at further opportunities for need for further appraisal activities and working through the process of fully evaluating the block, this is our priority," he said.

Asked whether Noble plans to drill for oil, Elliot said we are really in the process of evaluating what type of prospects exists in the block.

"We look for oil and gas but primarily we look for gas. We really don`t know at the moment which is coming to the forefront," he said.

Responding to question on Noble`s participation in a possible LNG plant in Cyprus, Elliot said they are progressing along, adding "we continue to work closely with the Minister and the governments and teams toward developing a project framework agreement supporting the government planning as it progresses."

Asked whether he believes the reserves found Aphrodite are enough to justify the LNG plant, Elliot said "we think it is probably going to take more and we are working with the teams to develop additional sourcing there both from block 12 as well as working with other co-ventures in the region offshore Cyprus."

Replying to a question, Elliott said Noble is in contact with the Israelis on a possible pooling of their reserves.

Noble Energy operates Block 12 offshore Cyprus with a 70 percent working interest, whereas Israeli Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each have 15 percent working interest.