East Med: Substantial acreage left to explore, says Noble exec
Despite being spoiled by several large discoveries in the Israeli offshore gasfields, Noble Energy’s Cyprus country manager believes there is still much exploration to be conducted, before the full potential of the eastern Mediterranean is known.
Speaking at the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Conference in Nicosia last week, John Tomich said that the company has enjoyed a very good start with the major gas discoveries that have been made offshore Israel and Cyprus.
Four years after the initial exploration well in block 12 within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, Noble Energy is expected to submit its commercial plans for the ‘Aphrodite’ gasfield that holds a gross reserve of about 4.50 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
The eastern Mediterranean is on the road of becoming a major hydrocarbon producer, Tomich said, with significant oil potential in the Levant basin and the need for more exploration. He said that the deep water Levant basin is very young as a hydrocarbon province, with significant exploration activity taking place only in the last six years, since the gas discovery at Israel’s Tamar field.
“Most basins take decades to be explored and there is no expectation that the Levant will be any different,” he said, adding that “there is substantial acreage left to explore”, referring to current exploration efforts by Italy’s ENI off Cyprus, as well as to new discoveries in Egypt.
Cyprus has already engaged in talks in Cairo to consider exporting natural gas by pipeline to satisfy’s Egypt’s thirst for energy as the Al Sisi administration has set ambitious growth targets for the near future.
Meanwhile, Cyprus and Total seem to have reached some mutial understanding, despite the French giant’s initial plans to withdraw from the Cyprus EEZ, after Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis and the General Manager of Total E&P Cyprus B.V., Jean-Luc Porcheron, signed an agreement last week on further exploration in order to further assess the prospects for exploration within block 11.
In January, the Minister had announced that Total was unable to locate satisfactory drilling target areas within blocks 10 and 11 in the Cyprus EEZ that also echoed the French energy giant’s plans to cut back on exploration plans around the world and reduce costs, especially now that profit margins have narrowed ever since crude prices fell to half their market price since last June.