By George Telaveris
While Cyprus waits for Total’s and Eni’s findings in Block 11 in order to proceed with its gas monetisation, Royal Dutch Shell is looking to take local gas to Egypt. Current exploration drilling by European energy giants at Onesiphoros could be a “game changer” for Cyprus’ energy strategy.
“More gas findings could put the LNG plant at Vassiliko back on track and allow easier monetisation of its gas finds,” an official within the ministry of energy told Cyprus Weekly.
Results from exploration drilling at Onesiphoros in Block 11, with initial proof of hydrocarbons reserved, is expected in early September.
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Block 11 is just six kilometres away from the supersized Zohr gas field that Eni discovered in the Egyptian offshore in 2015.
Zohr field (30 trillion cubic feet) and Noble’s Leviathan (17 tcf) in Israel, encourage the third licensing round for offshore blocks and turned the eastern Mediterranean region into a major gas-producing hub. Except from Vassiliko LNG plant, Cyprus is currently in talks with Egypt in order to export gas to its Damietta and Idku LNG terminals.
“Shell is in talks to buy natural gas from Israel’s Leviathan field, combine it with output from Cyprus’ Aphrodite field, in which it owns a 35% stake, and pump it to a liquefied natural gas plant in Egypt,” according to Bloomberg.
But energy expert Charles Ellinas said: “Current gas prices in international markets, along with Egypt’s self-sufficiency in gas, make this a really difficult task.”
At the same time, a pipeline to Turkey “is not an option for the region’s gas” Ellinas said, because of the “really low prices that the country pays for Azeri and Russian gas”.
Floating LNG (FLNG), on the other hand, could be an option for Cyprus’ development of natural gas, as Cyprus’ offshore is classified as ultra-deepwater, making pipeline construction expensive.