articles | 22 November 2016

ENI optimistic over Cyprus' gas

Italy’s oil and gas giant ENI is cautiously optimistic about the prospects for offshore gas in Cyprus.

Responding to questions at the recent ‘Future of Eastern Mediterranean Gas’ conference, ENI Cyprus Managing Director Alessandro Barberis said that ENI planned to drill again in the second half of 2017. ENI has the licence for Blocks 2, 3 and 11, and has bid for Blocks 6, 8 and 10 in the third licensing round. For Blocks 8 and 10 it is bidding together with French major, Total SA.

Noting that Block 11 is very close to the massive Zohr field which ENI discovered in 2015, Barberis said: “We think the blocks are promising because we have some structures that appear to be large”.

However, he added: “We don’t see another Zohr.”

The Egyptian Zohr field has 30 trillion cubic feet of gas – around seven times larger than Cyprus’ Aphrodite field.

Barberis said they were also still working on Blocks 2 and 3.

One uncertainty for ENI is the absence of a base for drilling operations. Larnaca municipal council rejected an extension of the base that ENI has been using in Larnaca, while the Limassol base has been thrown into question over contracts signed by the government with the winners of the commercial port licence, which it seems to have forgotten about.

“It is an issue… just recently we received written confirmation from the minister that we should relocate to Limassol,” said Barberis in response to questions. He said that there was an issue of space in Limassol, where there would be “more companies with lots of needs”.

“We need to be fast,” in sorting out the problem, he emphasised.

Barberis challenged the notion that sending gas from Aphrodite to Egypt would not be viable. Without making it explicit that this was the plan for Aphrodite, he said: “any stranded gas can benefit from a tie-in to Zohr”.

The conference was organised the PRIO Cyprus Centre, in collaboration with the Atlantic Council, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Cyprus, Istituto Affari Internazionali and Nicosia-based consultants, Strata Insight.

Source: InCyprus

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