Eni, Total confirm ‘excellent’ natgas well at Cronos-2

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Italy’s Eni and French TotalEnergies confirmed Thursday the extension and “excellent” well deliverability at their joint natural gas field within the Cronos discovery in the Cyprus offshore exclusive economic zone.

The announcement comes a month after their exploration at the Cronos-2 target in Block 6 of the EEZ, about 160 km southwest of Cyprus, reported gas flaring from the drilling site, indicating the discovery of a natural gas reservoir.

The Cronos-2 well was drilled to appraise the nearby Cronos discovery in Block 6, some 3km away, in August 2022.

“The appraisal drilling was successfully completed,” Energy Minister George Papanastasiou posted on the X social media, noting the extension of the discovery at Cronos and that Cronos-2 had “high production capability”, estimated at over 150 mln standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of gas.

Eni Cyprus Limited is the operator of Block 6 with a 50% participation, with partner TotalEnergies EP Cyprus B.V. holding the remaining 50%.

Government spokesman Constantinos Letymbiotis said that the Energy Ministry has made its own first estimates, “but everything will be discussed with the consortium now that concrete data is available.”

He added that the government’s main goal is, “to enable the Cypriot citizen, the Cypriot consumer, the Cypriot households to have access to cheaper energy as soon as possible. So, to set timetables, which will be feasible, realistic and concrete is something that is, of course, in our thoughts”.

Cyprus is far behind schedule in converting its infrastructure in order to import natural gas for energy production, resulting in paying about €380 mln in carbon emission fines in 2023, expected to spiral to €500 mln in the current year.

Contractual delays in setting up a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) at the Vassiliko energy hub to import, store and re-gasify liquefied natural gas (LNG) onboard, have caused a political storm, with the island’s Auditor General talking of scandalous delays, blaming the previous Anastasiades administration.

However, energy analyst Charles Ellinas said after the January gas flaring announcement that Eni was in a rush to tap into and export natural gas from the Cronos gasfields, with the aim of upstream supply through a subsea pipeline to its Zohr field in Egyptian waters and from there to the facilities in Damietta for eventual export.

Zohr pipeline faster

“This would be faster and cheaper than the FSRU solution,” Ellinas told CyBC radio at the time.

In its announcement about the Cronos-2 drill, Eni said, “the production test allowed for the estimation of a well production capacity in excess of 150 mmscfd in production configuration and is instrumental in progressing with the studies to select the best fast-track development option.

“Cronos-2 was drilled to confirm the lateral extension of the Cronos gas discovery (with Cronos 1 exploration well), located some 3 km away, and to assess the reservoir characteristics by performing a production test. The well has encountered the same carbonate reservoir sequence as Cronos-1, confirming hydraulic communication and connected thick gas column with excellent permeability intervals.”

Eni said that together with an extensive data acquisition, Cronos-2 underwent a full and prolonged production test, “that proved the excellent gas deliverability capacity of the discovery.”

Cronos-2, that encountered several carbonate reservoir intervals with a net reservoir thickness of 115 meters, is the fourth well drilled by Eni in Block 6, following the gas discoveries of Calypso in 2018 and of Cronos and Zeus in 2022.

“Drilling Cronos-2 shortly after the discovery of Cronos confirms the commitment of Eni and its partner TotalEnergies, to progress swiftly towards the selection of the most suitable and economically viable development solution, which will contribute to the supply of gas to Europe and the region,” the Eni announcement said.

Julien Pouget, Senior Vice President Middle East & North Africa, Exploration & Production at TotalEnergies, said that the successful appraisal of the Cronos gas discovery confirms the presence of significant resources and production potential in Block 6.

“Full evaluation of the discovered resources will now be carried out to determine the best development option to contribute to supply gas to Europe and to the region”, he said.

Eni has been present in Cyprus since 2013. Block 6 is operated by Eni holding 50% interest, with TotalEnergies as partner. Eni also operates Blocks 2, 3, 8, and 9, and has participating interests in Blocks 7 and 11, operated by TotalEnergies (50% interest in each).

TotalEnergies is also present in offshore Block 2 (20%), 3 (30%), 8 (40%) and 9 (20%).