US-based Noble Energy has discovered gas in Block 12 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the reserve is thought to be 30-40% higher than estimates, according to a report by Philelftheros newspaper citing un-named sources. The paper says that President Demetris Christofias is set to visit Noble’s offshore drilling rig in the near future to inspect it and attend an inauguration ceremony for the new well. Commenting on the report, Christofias said that any visit will be organised in due course and that it will be officially announced.
Microscopic bubbles of gas are already coming to the surface and everything is ready for the final stage of drilling, says the report.
Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Praxoulla Antoniadou was quoted by Cyprus news report as saying that since drilling is being carried out, it means that hydrocarbon deposits are likely to be identified. But she cautioned that they are only half-way to drilling targets. “We are now about 2200 metres below the seabed and the goal is to reach 4000 metres. This is where we expect to locate hydrocarbon deposits,” she said in a written statement. She asked for patience and said that bubbles of natural gas could come at any stage of the drilling process.“This does not mean that we’ve discovered the deposits and it is a shame that these impressions are created, keeping the world in suspense,” she said.
According to previous statements by Antoniades, confirmed initial results had been expected by December, and she reiterated this estimate. Parallel to any early positive indications in mid-December, Noble Energy will still have to do an assessment of the quality of the gas. This stage would take at least another six to eight months, she said. A decision on building a gas terminal will be made at the same time, she said.
Noble Energy has an exploratory license for Block 12 and started drilling on September 19th in an area that experts say could contain 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Earlier this year, a Noble Energy official said that natural gas could be delivered from Block 12 by 2014. Block 12 neighbors Israel’s natural gas field Leviathan which is considered to be one of the Mediterranean’s largest undersea gas reserves. The first well drilled on Leviathan alone contained 16 trillion cubic feet of gas.