The great value and significant benefits caused by the new discovery in the EEZ

New positive results are also expected from the Zeus -1 target

Michalis Polydorou

New life has been given to the energy planning of the Republic of Cyprus by yesterday’s announcements by the joint venture of the Italian ENI and the French Total in relation to the discovery of a new natural gas field in the Kronos target within block six of the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone. An additional boost was given yesterday by the minister’s announcement of a new exploratory drilling that started yesterday within block six, which demonstrates the consortium’s determination to exhaust all available information on the quantities it hides.

Yesterday’s announcements of the discovery of a natural gas reservoir estimated at 2.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf), according to preliminary estimates, raised expectations for even bigger discoveries. Something that is expected to be confirmed when the second drilling of the ENI-Total joint venture, launched by the “Tungsten Explorer” drill at the Zeus-1 target, is completed yesterday.

The data from the first drilling in the Cypriot EEZ after the long interruption due to the pandemic, are more than favorable, since in combination with the increased needs of the European Union for new sources of natural gas, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, bring the Cyprus in the foreground and increase the willingness of the European partners for the shortest possible development of the Cypriot deposits.

In addition to the intensive work of the companies within the EEZ, whether they concern Exxon Mobil which is active on plots five and ten, or Chevron on 12, or on the other plots where EMI and Total work together, the processes and designs continue, on the best option to develop the fields and channel the quantities of natural gas to the market.

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The government, however, seems to favor the scenario that has long since seen the light of day and seems to be the ideal based on today’s data, both in terms of cost and time, for the construction of a pipeline that will transport the deposits from the sea ​​block ten and six to the liquefaction stations in Egypt and then by ship to transport the natural gas to the EU countries. This scenario was repeated yesterday by the Minister of Energy herself who stated that the new discovery creates suitable conditions for exploitation, while indicated that it is also helpful in the effort to exploit the other deposits as well.

He also noted that the natural gas transport scenario in Egypt is still the most prevalent, without any change being expected in relation to this plan, subject, as he said, to the results from the new drilling of the ENI consortium- Total. And this is because in the event that significant and beyond expected quantities are identified, then second thoughts will be given and possibly the scenario of creating a terminal in Cyprus will be advanced.

However, the fact that the recent discoveries, in plot ten and plot six, as well as any upcoming discoveries that may occur in the next period, whether in plot five or six, are adjacent, favors joint exploitation and synergies between the companies, a fact that the minister herself indicated in her statements. This greatly facilitates companies and the Government, in order to lower the costs of transportation, storage and in general exploitation of the deposits that will be identified and automatically creates greater profits and less expenses. Which implies that it will automatically cause the most intense interest of the energy giants to push the developments even further.

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A better and more complete picture of the actual size of the deposits in this area will be available when the ongoing drilling is completed.

It is recalled that with regard to ExxonMobil’s operations, seismic surveys are currently being carried out in block ten and block five, in order to identify the exact quantities of Natural Gas. It is recalled that block five was recently licensed, in 2021, to the American giant and there are recorded data that cause optimism for great prospects.

Regarding plot 12, which is now managed by the also American company Chevron, its executives recently visited Cyprus and agreed to present in a short period of time the final proposal with their plans for the exploitation of the “Aphrodite” deposit. The finalization of the designs is expected in the first months of 2023.

Besides, there is also on the table the proposal of the Energean company for the transfer of Israeli natural gas from the deposits that the company is licensed in the EEZ of the neighboring country in Vassiliko on a floating platform and from there to be transported by ships to the EU. A proposal that is approached positively by many involved agencies and states.

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