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Exxon Mobil ready to drill

By George Telaveris

September could be another milestone for Cyprus’ energy plans, as ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum consortium is about to announce its exploration programme in Block 10.

At the same time, the Total-Eni consortium will be announcing results from its natural gas exploration in Onesiphoros Block 11.

“ExxonMobil had been particularly active since signing the contracts with Cyprus in April, and is ready to give more details regarding its exploration programme,” a person familiar with the matter told the Cyprus Weekly.

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The energy ministry and the consortium were not immediately available to comment.

The consortium has been going through the 2-D and 3-D seismic data of the East Mediterranean that the Norwegian PGS has produced for the Republic of Cyprus, and all the data that provided by the energy ministry.

“The company will be waiting for the latest data from PGS and the results from Eni and Total drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ before it announces exploration of its own wells,” a source told the Cyprus Weekly.

ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum consortium had, earlier this year, expressed their intent to drill their first exploration well in 2018.

ExxonMobil will be holding a press conference on September 6.

Meanwhile, Italy’s Eni and France’s Total have been engaged in exploration drilling in Block 11 since the middle of July. The energy ministry expects them to announce any findings over the coming weeks.

Italian energy giant ENI is expected to start three hydrocarbon exploratory wells in Blocks 3, 6 and 8 in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on November 1.

The drill site in Block 3 has been named Soupia (Cuttlefish), the site in Block 6, Calypso, and the drill site in Block 8, Eratosthenis South 1.

The plans were revealed when ENI submitted applications for the necessary licences from state services, while its 600-page environmental impact study is expected to be submitted in September.

Exploring the Mediterranean’s Levant Basin has become more attractive ever since Eni discovered Egypt’s offshore Zohr field in 2015, the biggest gas field in the Mediterranean and estimated to contain 850 billion cubic metres of gas.

Noble Energy of the US made Cyprus’s first natural gas discovery offshore in 2011.

Pipeline plans sinking

Despite Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Israel having pledged to move ahead with the world’s longest undersea gas pipeline, spanning the eastern Mediterranean to southern Europe, with support from the European Union, this is considered unprofitable.

If carried out as planned, the long-discussed €5.8-billion pipeline will take gas from Israel and Cyprus’ recently-discovered offshore gas reserves to Europe

The same goes for the pipeline to the Egyptian LNG terminal, where talks have been ongoing for the last three years.

“Any finding in Block 11 and later on in Block 10 might only be profitable to develop through floating LNG (FLNG), as Cyprus’ offshore is classified as ultra-deep water, making pipeline construction expensive,” a person familiar with the matter commented to the Weekly.

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