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Cyprus: ExxonMobil To Gauge Gas Field Size In 6-8 Weeks

Cyprus: ExxonMobil To Gauge Gas Field Size In 6-8 Weeks

Drilling by ExxonMobil set for late next month to confirm how much natural gas is contained in a sizable deposit off Cyprus' southwestern coast will map out how the fuel will reach potential markets in Europe and Asia, the island nation's energy minister said on Wednesday.

NICOSIA, Cyprus: Drilling by ExxonMobil set for late next month to confirm how much natural gas is contained in a sizable deposit off Cyprus’ southwestern coast will map out how the fuel will reach potential markets in Europe and Asia, the island nation’s energy minister said on Wednesday.

Minister Natasa Pilides says the significant drilling at the Glaucus-1 well inside block 10 of Cyprus exclusive zone scheduled to start in 6-8 weeks will determine if the deposit is at the higher or lower end of its estimated size of 5-8 trillion cubic feet (142-227 billion cubic meters) of natural gas.

A higher confirmed quantity would naturally mean greater profits and in turn push exploitation of the deposit up the priority list for ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Petroleum among the different projects theyre currently working on.

Pilides told The Associated Press in an interview that transferring the gas by pipeline to Egyptian processing plants where it would be liquefied for export aboard ships is currently the most likely option.

But possible construction of a processing plant on Cyprus isnt completely out of the picture depending on the overall quantity of gas found off the island that would make the project economically feasible.

A consortium made up of Frances Total and Italys Eni is set to start drilling in the first half of next year to determine the size of what was described as a promising deposit at its Calypso 1 well in block 6 that abuts area where ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum is licensed.

The Total/Eni consortium is licensed to prospect for hydrocarbons in seven of 13 blocks off Cyprus. Calypso could extend to neighboring block 7 which belongs to the consortium.

Pilides said natural gas is a cleaner-burning, conventional fuel that countries in Europe and elsewhere could use to transition to more renewable sources for energy generation. She said that models show that even countries that generate most of their energy from renewables still have quite a high percentage of either natural gas or nuclear power as a back-up energy source.

Technology hasnt reached the point where renewables could cover all a countrys energy needs so theres still room for natural gas.

Because (gas) prices are rising were going through a phase where theres definitely more hope that if theres sufficient quantities in Cyprus, it could provide an alternative for our region, said Pililides.

Pilides said Egypt has been keen in nudging forward regional cooperation for a pipeline to transfer gas from Cypriot and even Israeli waters to its processing plants.

Although no numbers have been discussed, Pilides said the possibility is being examined for a pipeline that would convey gas to Egypt from Cyprus Aphrodite deposit and Israels huge, adjacent field Leviathan - both of which are operated by Chevron.

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first published:October 14, 2021, 00:39 IST