By Stefanos Evripidou
FORMER ENERGY chief Solon Kassinis yesterday called on the press to stop being alarmist about the size of gas reserves in Block 12 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), claiming the country’s hydrocarbon reserves were “huge”.
Speculation over the size of gas reserves estimated in Block 12’s Aphrodite field following an appraisal drilling by Noble should stop, he said, calling for patience until the US-based company and energy minister announced the official results.
Local press widely reported on Sunday that the results of the appraisal well in Block 12 were not as high as expected, with the estimated gas reserves in the Aphrodite field coming lower than the minimum amount considered necessary to warrant the building of a liquefaction (LNG) plant.
On the bright side, the press reports said the quality of the gas was excellent while eight other gas fields of smaller size than Aphrodite are believed to have been located within Block 12.
The allegedly smaller than expected size of the Aphrodite field and the need to confirm reserves in other fields of Block 12 are expected to set back the government’s plans for building an LNG terminal by anywhere between six months and two years, wrote the reports.
Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC, Kassinis said the media needs to stop publishing alarmist reports and wait for the official results to be announced in the coming days.
The executive vice-chairman of the Cyprus National Hydrocarbons Company (CNHC), who handed in his resignation to the President two months ago, said he expected another appraisal drilling to take place before even considering making conclusions on the total gas reserves in the Aphrodite field.
He highlighted that the rig which has just finished work in Block 12 is now going to the Israeli EEZ to drill yet another appraisal well in the Israeli offshore Tamar field.
“They’ve done three drillings. They started with (estimated findings of) 3.7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) and ended with 9.7 tcf (of gas). Leviathan, their biggest reserve, started with 14 tcf, went to 16 tcf and then 18 tcf. So why before we even start are we so negative?” he asked.
Kassinis noted that three-dimensional surveys completed a month ago have found geological structures in other parts of Block 12 that require drilling to see what quantities of gas exist there. In addition, he argued, there are “many more reserves” in other blocks in Cyprus’ EEZ.
“The message is that we have a lot of gas. We should not be concerned,” he said.
“I assure you that the deposits of natural gas that we have in Cyprus, and even of oil, are huge. This is the hope we have to give to people for the future. We should certainly not be alarmist,” he added.