“There are no surprises with regards to the names that showed interest in the third licensing round for hydrocarbon exploration.” said Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis on State Radio on Thursday.
“The only small surprise was the interest shown by ENI and TOTAL for blocks 6 and 10,” said Lakkotrypis.
He also expressed optimism that the fact that large companies showed interest in the third licensing round indicated the existence of large gas reserves.
“What requires being done now is to proceed with sales agreements, something which is difficult under the present conditions of the international gas and petrol market. We also need to complete negotiations for the Development and Production Scheme,” said the Minister.
“We also know in detail the amounts of natural gas reserves that need to be discovered to ensure that each choice of terminal requires being profitable.”
“The initial estimate of 10 trillion cubic feet required from the Aphrodite field to construct two liquefaction trains is no longer feasible due the slump of the price of oil and LNG.”
“Our efforts are for maximum exploration in the existing blocks in order to maximise the discovery of reserves. The inclusion of the latest three blocks means that a total of seven blocks are open for exploration.”
“Priority is to investigate and locate more natural gas reserves. The interest shown by the companies that submitted tenders of interest is encouraging and stems largely from the reserves discovered in the Zhor field and is associated with the underwater mountain range Eratosthenes which lies exclusively in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”
The strategy to be followed with the Aphrodite field is the sale of natural gas to Egypt, which under careful consideration, has proved to be the best option for Cyprus aid Lakkotrypis.
Egypt’s requirements for LNG is greater than that which can be supplied by the Zohr reserves, and figures show that Egypt’s consumer market will require an additional 7% annual supply of LNG.
Speaking about the joint Israeli-Turkish statement with regards to the construction of a gas pipeline between the two countries, Lakkotrypis said that there is no indication that the proposal is beneficial as techno-economic studies have not been conducted regarding the matter. Israel has made it clear that it wants this as an option as is the similar option under discussion with Egypt and Greece.
Interpretations behind the present situation stem from political, economic and commercial issues. “The legal issue which is clearly based on the rule of the sea prevents one country from vetoing such projects and states clearly that each country is to allow the installation of pipelines. One country cannot arbitrarily enter the EEZ of another country and to interfere with her reserves and infrastructure, fishing grounds and security zones, so it is important that a mutual understanding is reached between the countries involved, in this case, Cyprus, Israel, and Turkey.”
“We are experiencing it first hand now with the pipelines to Egypt,” said Lakkotrypis.
Concluding, Lakkotrypis said “following the experience of the first two rounds, we will need to wait about six months to see results. We will try to speed up the process, but we won’t make big talk of it, let’s just say the sooner the better.”