New find makes Cyprus gas more viable

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Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said Tuesday that a new gas find off Cyprus would help the EU member state speed up the commercial exploitation of its untapped resources and help supply Europe with secure energy.

She told CyBC state radio that a “significant” find by Italian-French consortium Eni-TotalEnergies of 2.5 trillion cubic feet would help “create synergies and viable investments” in the island’s energy search.

The gas discovery was made at the Cronos-1 well, located 165 kilometres off the southwest coast of Cyprus.

It is within block 6 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone with “good to excellent quality characteristics”.

Eni drilled the exploration well in the same block where in 2018, it discovered the large Calypso-1 gas field that contains an estimated 4.5 trillion cubic feet of gas.

France’s Total has a 50% partnership in block 6.

Nicosia is discussing with Brussels to be part of the EU’s energy plan to become less reliant on Russian gas supplies, with Moscow threatening to turn off the taps, Pilides said.

In a statement on Monday, the Energy Ministry said the drilling demonstrated the existence of a column of purely natural gas of 260 meters.

Based on the data analysis, the “reservoir discovered has good to excellent quality characteristics and, according to preliminary estimates, holds a total amount of natural gas of 2.5 trillion cubic feet”.

It said more drilling has begun in block 6, in a new well called Zeus-1, where additional quantities of gas may be discovered and add value to the first discovery.

Pilides said she contacted Eni and TotalEnergies to “find ways to exploit this discovery optimally”.

This discovery adds to three other significant gas finds, including at the Aphrodite well of 4.5 tcf in block 12, licensed to US firm Chevron, Shell, and Israeli partners.

Total untapped gas reserves are now estimated at a minimum of 14 tcf.

Pilides said it should take around three years to commercially exploit Aphrodite, with the most likely scenario transporting the gas to nearby Egypt.

Nicosia has granted drilling licenses for seven blocks to the Eni-Total consortium.

The first gas deposit was found off Cyprus in 2011 by Noble Energy which Chevron later bought out.

US giant ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Energy are licensed to conduct exploratory drilling in two of Cyprus’ 13 blocks.

ExxonMobil discovered a deposit estimated to contain approximately 5-9 trillion cubic feet of gas in one such block.