LONDON Evaluation of the second licensing round for Cyprus’ offshore blocks has been completed and the advisory committee will reconvene on 26 September and submit its report to the Minister of Commerce, according to Department of Energy Director, Solon Kasinis.
In statements on London Greek Radio, Kasinis, who is in the British capital to address a conference on exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, said that Israel has proposed relaxed restrictions with Cyprus as far as future exports of natural gas are concerned, so that Cyprus can become its window to Europe by 2017.
Should Cyprus go ahead alone, he said, the deadline for the extraction of natural gas can be extended to 2018. He also noted that liquefied natural gas can be exported to Europe and Asia in 2019.
Answering a question on the start of infrastructure projects, he said discussions are underway with Noble Energy and a decision will be taken on the extent and number of sub-sea pipelines that will be constructed. Noble Energy, said Kasinis, is proposing the construction of a 24 inch pipeline while Cyprus is proposing a 20 inch pipeline.
He said a company will be set up and tenders will be invited because this infrastructure project concerns not only Noble but also the government of Cyprus since it will be the biggest investor.
Regarding the Turkish threats against Cyprus’ activities for the extraction of hydrocarbons from its Exclusive Economic Zone, Kasinis pointed out that Turkey cannot recognize the Law of the Sea in the Black Sea and not in the Mediterranean.
Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate its Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.
The first licensing round, concluded in 2007, resulted in granting concessions to Houston-based “Noble Energy” for exploratory drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ block 12.
Noble started drilling in September 2011 and the initial data that emerged from the exploratory drilling and the evaluation checks carried out indicate the existence of a natural gas reservoir ranging from 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) with a gross mean of 7 tcf.
A second licensing round for companies interested to receive concessions for exploratory drillings in Cyprus EEZ was concluded last May, resulting in bids by fifteen companies and joint ventures.