articles | 13 April 2023

Minister explores options for expediting gas extraction

Energy Minister George Papanastasiou on Thursday floated the idea of importing natural gas quantities from reservoirs in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, to be used for power generation, coupled with exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via a small terminal on the island.

The minister was speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, after a senior executive for ENI – which holds gas concessions in Cypriot waters – recently revealed options for monetising the natural gas discovered in offshore Block 6. After discovering up to 4.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas deposits in the Zeus-1 and Cronos-1 reservoirs in Block Six, Guido Brusco, ENI’s Chief Operating Officer for Natural Resources, told an online news outlet they’re considering two options – either a floating LNG or ‘a tie-in’ to Egypt where ENI operates the Damietta LNG plant. ENI is the operator in Block 6, where it holds a 50 per cent interest. Total holds the other 50 per cent.

“Essentially, these are (the options) which they have been considering all along, with an additional position put forth by us to ENI, that we would like to expedite their decisions, and that is why we have put on the table the option of diverting part of the gas to Cyprus,” Papanastasiou told CNA. He said he has already held separate courtesy meetings with representatives of the joint ventures operating in the Cypriot EEZ. Papanastasiou said the reasons for importing some of the Cypriot natural gas quantities are twofold. “Natural gas would replace the very expensive conventional fuel for power generation, alleviating the burden on households, industry and the economy in general, while expediting natural gas usage before the EU phases out gas, as stipulated by the Fit for 55 package.”

The minister pointed out that natural gas for power generation in Cyprus is not enough to justify the capital expenditures needed for the necessary infrastructure. Therefore, Cyprus has floated the idea of LNG exports via a small LNG modular plant. “The aim is for cheaper energy in Cyprus to help households, the industry and the economy, and because that on its own is not enough to justify the necessary infrastructure, we are trying to create an incentive via the LNG modular plant, and this will be discussed in a joint meeting where we will present the document.”

In December of 2022, ENI announced a discovery of between two and three trillion tcf in Block 6, at a natural gas play called Zeus-1. Earlier, in August of 2022, ENI discovered 2.5 trillion tcf at the Cronos-1 site. ENI’s Calypso-1 gas discovery came in 2018. ENI has been operating in Cyprus since 2013. The company operates blocks 2, 3, 6, 8 and 9, and holds stakes in blocks 7 and 11 operated by TotalEnergies.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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