Drilling in Onisiphoros dis­ap­points, gas­field not vi­able, says En­ergy min­is­ter

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The ex­plo­ration drilling by French To­tal and Italy’s Eni in the “Onisiphoros West 1” gas­field in Cyprus’ Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone (EEZ) has fallen short of ex­pec­ta­tions, with the govern­ment min­is­ter say­ing it was not com­mer­cially vi­able.

The field in the offshore block 11, is es­ti­mated to have less than half a tril­lion cu­bic feet (tcf) of nat­u­ral gas, En­ergy Min­is­ter Yior­gos Lakkotrypis said on Tues­day, nearly a tenth of the es­ti­mated re­serves in the “Aphrodite” gas­field dis­cov­ered by Noble En­ergy and Is­rael’s Delek.

Speak­ing in Ni­cosia, Lakkotrypis also said that the out­come means that the re­serve is com­mer­cially not a stand-alone project.

The Min­is­ter added, how­ever, that re­sults re­main en­cour­ag­ing as they con­firm the ex­is­tence of nat­u­ral gas and a hy­dro­car­bon reser­voir within Cyprus’ EEZ, sim­i­lar to the one dis­cov­ered in Egypt’s “Zohr” field, just south of block 11.

Lakkotrypis added that within 30 days, ac­cord­ing to the con­tract, the To­tal-Eni con­sor­tium should pro­vide a de­tailed re­port on the drilling re­sults Min­istry whether it will con­fir­ma­tory drilling.

He ex­plained that the in­for­ma­tion gath­ered dur­ing the drilling will be used for fur­ther stud­ies, aimed at the fi­nal eval­u­a­tion of the re­sults of “Onisiphoros West 1” and in defin­ing the fu­ture re­search project of the con­sor­tium for block 11.

At the same time he did not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity for an­other tar­get in block 11 and pointed out that ev­ery drilling ac­tiv­ity pro­vides valu­able in­for­ma­tion to make the right de­ci­sions for the fol­low-up. The con­sor­tium has the op­por­tu­nity to re­new its li­cense for block “11” in Fe­bru­ary 2018.

As re­gards the other li­censed blocks in Cyprus’ EEZ, Lakkotrypis said that the third li­cens­ing round was built and was suc­cess­ful on the ba­sis of “Zohr” ge­o­log­i­cal model. The rea­son, he said, is that there are struc­tures sim­i­lar to Egypt’s gi­ant field in the three blocks: “6”, “8” and “10”.

“The sig­nif­i­cance of ‘Onisiphoros’ lies in the fact that it has proved that “Zohr” ge­o­log­i­cal model works, and ex­ists, and in­form the pro­ceed with a some­thing that gives an even more pos­i­tive per­spec­tive”, Lakkotrypis said.

The ExxonMo­bil-Qatar Petroleum con­sor­tium has al­ready an­nounced two ex­ploratory drillings in block ‘10’ in the sec­ond half of 2018, and the Min­is­ter said that he ex­pects Eni and To­tal that hold the li­censes for blocks ‘6’ and ‘8’ to in­form him when and in what or­der they will pro­ceed with their own drilling.

He also re­it­er­ated that the con­struc­tion of an LNG plant in Cyprus re­mains a pri­or­ity for the govern­ment, if more gas dis­cov­er­ies are con­firmed to jus­tify its op­er­a­tion.

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