The Cyprus government and representatives of the Eni/KOGAS joint venture signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Nicosia on Wednesday aimed at investigating areas of cooperation related to Cyprus potential gas resources valorisation, with priority given to the onshore LNG option.
Eni is the operator of blocks 2, 3 and 9 of the Cyprus exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with an 80% participation in the joint venture, while KOGAS is a 20% partner.
Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis, who signed the MoU on behalf of the government, recently said that plans for the exploration of hydrocarbon reserves off the island’s southern shores are proceeding without delay.
“We are trying to speed up exploratory drilling by several months, but there are no shortcuts,” the minister.
Eni/KOGAS said that they plan to start exploratory drilling in one of the blocks, possibly as early as in August, with French Total in blocks 10 and 11, and US-based Noble Energy in block 12 undertaking their own explorations in 2015.
So far, Noble’s initial probes in a gasfield adjacent to Israel’s Leviathan where it also has concessions, revealed estimated gross mean resources of 5 trln cubic feet (tcf), short of the 8 tcf needed for the Cyprus government to plan an onshore LNG plant with the aim of exporting the gas.
Cyprus has similar MoUs with Total, as well as Noble and its Israeli partners, Delek and Avner, for the LNG plant, even though Israeli gas exporters have already committed processing 40% of their output at plants in Egypt.
Lebanon, with potential gasfields similar in resources to those of Israel and Cyprus, has yet to finalise its own plans for licensing of concessions and explorations.
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