After extended deep-water exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, US energy giant ExxonMobil is anticipated to disclose findings this week in what is being described as a groundbreaking moment in the race to tap potentially profitable underwater resources.
Leading industry expert and former head of Cyprus’ national hydrocarbons company, Charles Ellinas, said: “All the seismic data suggests that enough has been found to excite ExxonMobil to continue exploration. Potentially there could be great reserves.”
Ellinas further added: “ExxonMobil is looking for substantial quantities of gas to support its ultimate plan to build a liquefaction plant in Cyprus. This is only the beginning.”
ExxonMobil is one of five energy giants exploring around the island. Up until now, the company has been focusing on Block 10, which in close proximity to giant Zohr field offshore Egypt. If such deposits beneath the sea are unlocked, we could witness a fundamental reform in energy geopolitics and minimize Europe’s reliance on Russia for gas.
“If there is a big find, there’ll be big stakes backed up by a huge American company,” said Hubert Faustmann, professor of history and political science at the University of Nicosia.
Although experts are somewhat unsure of the reserves’ commercial viability, an air of optimism surrounds Cyprus’s presidential quarters.
Some officials optimistically speak of Cyprus becoming a “new Kuwait,” enriched by its role as a gas-producing hub.
“If it is a substantial reserve a lot of things are going to change,” said Cyprus government spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou.