AN official on Tuesday confirmed Noble Energy’s proposal to the government for an alternative method of bringing natural gas onshore from Block 12 solely for domestic electricity production.
Solon Kasinis, executive vice chairman of the Cyprus National Hydrocarbons Company (CNHC), appeared to favour the proposal.
Speaking on CyBC radio, Kasinis opined that the method proposed by Noble would drive down the cost of electricity production.
Houston-based Noble has proposed the deployment of a spar platform in Block 12. A spar platform can drill and produce natural gas from a well faster than conventional drilling rigs.
For the project, Noble would lay a pipeline of a smaller diameter (and capacity) than conventional deep-water pipelines, adequate to meeting the island’s domestic gas needs.
This is separate and in addition to the infrastructures and pipeline that would be laid once Noble and Cyprus conclude an agreement to commercialise gas from Block 12 for exports.
Daily Politis, which broke the story, said the US company has proposed using such a platform to bring natural gas to the Vassilikos power plant as of January 2016.
Phileleftheros reports that Noble’s proposal was ‘discreetly’ looked into by the Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA), the CNHC and the electricity utility.
Evidently wary of openly acknowledging Noble’s offer, the government itself has not confirmed the proposal lest it be accused of acting in bad faith as it is already in the process of negotiating a bid for the interim supply of gas.
This week DEFA is set to hold negotiations with preferred bidder Itera for the import of natural gas until the island’s own reserves come on tap.
The designated timeline for interim natural gas imports is 2015 to 2018. Cyprus is not expected to be ready to sell its own gas reserves – thus far unproven – anytime before 2020.