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Eni and Total have discovered gas while drilling in Cyprus waters close to the giant Zohr gas field discovery offshore Egypt, but the estimated quantity of the newly discovered field is too small to develop on its own, Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said on Tuesday.
The field contains less than 0.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, but the drilling proved that the Zohr-type geological model works, Lakkotrypis told reporters, as carried by Associated Press.
“We’re not disappointed with this drilling,” the minister said, adding that “It leaves us optimistic for the future.”
The consortium of Total E&P Cyprus and Eni Cyprus Limited, holder of an exploration license for Block 11 within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus, started drilling at the “Onesiphoros West 1” well on July 12. Back then, the drilling operations were expected to be completed within 75 days.
The consortium has to notify Cyprus within 30 days if it plans to continue drilling in Block 11, Minister Lakkotrypis said today.
Although the gas found in the well is not enough for a standalone commercial development, it “raises prospects about the geological structures found in other Blocks” that are similar in nature to Zohr and Onesiphoros, the minister noted.
Following the giant Zohr gas discovery offshore Egypt in 2015, Cyprus has boosted efforts to award drilling licenses and hopes that the geology of Zohr extends into Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, Lakkotrypis said in May this year.
In March 2015, Cyprus and Total signed an agreement regarding further exploration works in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, which Total will undertake in order to further assess the prospects of exploration block 11.
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At the time, Eni had not announced yet that Zohr was a “sensational discovery”. This was confirmed in August 2015, when the Italian group said that it had discovered the biggest ever natural gas field in the Mediterranean that could hold a potential of 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas in place.
Earlier this year, ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum signed an exploration and production (E&P) sharing contract with the Cyprus government, and will start drilling in a block offshore Cyprus in 2018.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.