Governments should provide the necessary support to increase energy supply from the Eastern Mediterranean, said ExxonMobil’s frontier exploration director Tristan Aspray.
He told a panel discussion on energy supply and security in Europe at the Economist Summit that new discoveries offshore Israel, Cyprus and Egypt are relatively small and in deep waters requiring an investment of billions of dollars to develop.
He argued for the need for government support, appropriate terms and demand for security to further strengthen the energy supply from the Eastern Mediterranean.
“The Eastern Mediterranean has already become a source of energy, not only for domestic use but also for the supply of Europe, especially in natural gas, while production has increased significantly.”
ExxonMobil is a key player in the island’s energy search, with promising results in blocks 10 and 5 of the Cyprus EEZ.
“The Eastern Mediterranean is becoming super important in the face of recent energy challenges.
“Natural gas will continue to play an important role in the green transition due to its reduced emissions compared to other fuels, its good combination with renewables and its role in the development of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.”
The Cyprus government has granted ExxonMobil, and partner Qatar Energy licenses to carry out exploratory drilling in two of 13 blocks inside waters off its southern coastline, where it has exclusive economic rights.
ExxonMobil discovered a deposit estimated to contain approximately 5-9 trillion cubic feet of gas in one such block and is currently drilling an appraisal well to get a more accurate estimate of its “quantity and quality”.
Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said that the option of a floating infrastructure for liquefied natural gas in Cyprus (FSRU) had been discussed with the companies and the European Commission.
She also said that the drilling results of block 6 are “extremely important” to see if there are additional quantities.
Pilides said that Cyprus is implementing a multidimensional energy strategy to strengthen the security of the energy supply, remove energy isolation and operate competitive internal electricity and natural gas market.
On the EuroAsia Interconnector, she said that after years of work, the flagship project is expected in mid-2028 to connect Europe with the Middle East and finally end the energy isolation of Cyprus.
“The operation of the EuroAsia Interconnector deepens the implementation of the goal set by the EU, for at least 15% of electrical interconnection for each member state, by 2030.”
Nicosia has also declared its readiness to examine possibilities and proposals for connecting various natural gas fields in Cyprus, Israel, Egypt, and Lebanon with existing or new infrastructures for export to Europe.
The first gas deposit was found off Cyprus in 2011 by Noble Energy which Chevron later bought out.
The Aphrodite field contains an estimated 4.5 trillion cubic feet of gas.