The Cyprus government will enter into concrete talks with Cairo over a possible natural gas sale to Egypt after the first results of the exploration activity by ENI-KOGAS in Cypriot offshore blocks 2, 3 and 9, some time later this year, Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said.
In statements after a cabinet meeting, Lakkotrypis said clear that the construction of an LNG liquefaction terminal remains a priority for Nicosia, adding that in the long-term Cyprus should diversify its export options.
The minister visit Cairo earlier this week for the meeting of the joint technical committee which, inter alia, “explored technical options with regard to a possible future transport of Cypriot natural gas to Egypt.”
Lakkotrypis said that Egypt is currently suffering from a severe energy crisis and is “desperately seeking for natural gas imports.”
He said that he briefed his Egyptian counterparts over the next exploration drilling by the Italian-Korean consortium ENI-KOGAS in blocks 2, 3 and 9.
“The first results at least from the first drilling are expected before the end of the year and we agreed that at that point we will be ready to engage in more concrete talks over the sale of natural gas,” Lakkotrypis said.
So far, US Noble Energy has discovered gross natural gas reserves of 3.5 trln cubic feet (tcf) in block 12. However, this is not consider sufficient to sustain an onshore LNG plant, which needs to tap into at least 6 tcf to make it viable.
ENI-KOGAS will start their first exploratory drilling at the end of August, while French giant Total is expected to begin exploration activity in blocks 10 and 11 in the second half of 2015.
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