NOBLE Energy, operators of the Block 12 offshore licence, are planning further exploratory drilling towards the end of 2014, officials said on Monday.
The Houston-based company should be ready to determine the next site or sites of exploratory drilling by April next year, as well as show whether an additional appraisal well for the Aphrodite well is needed, Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis told reporters.
He was speaking after a meeting at the Palace between President Nicos Anastasiades and a Noble delegation headed by Keith Elliott, Noble Energy Senior Vice Chairman for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Asked about the development timeframe, Lakkotrypis said the President asked Noble whether it could expedite exploration drilling, adding however that based on ongoing evaluation work and depending on rig availability “it is difficult to achieve this target sooner than October 2014.”
For his part, Noble’s Elliott said the company continues to work on exploration processes and is looking at further opportunities.
“We continue to evaluate the results of the A2 well and look at further opportunities for the need for further appraisal activities and working through the process of fully evaluating the block, this is our priority,” he said.
Asked whether Noble plans to prospect for oil, Elliot said they are in the process of evaluating what type of prospects exists in the block.
“We are looking for oil and gas but primarily we look for gas. We really don’t know at the moment which is coming to the forefront,” he said.
Responding to a question on Noble’s participation in a possible LNG plant in Cyprus, Elliot said the Americans continue to work closely with the government negotiating team toward developing a project framework agreement.”
Asked whether he believed the reserves discovered so far in the Aphrodite prospect are enough to justify the LNG plant, Elliot said: “We think it is probably going to take more and we are working with the teams to develop additional sourcing there both from block 12 as well as working with other co-ventures in the region offshore Cyprus.”
Noble Energy operates Block 12 with a 70 percent working interest; Israel’s Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each have a 15 percent working interest.
Exploratory drilling carried out in late 2011 in Block 12 revealed an estimated gross resource range of 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet (tcf), with a gross mean of 7 tcf. Follow-up drilling in October of this year lowered the estimates to a range from 3.6 tcf to 6 tcf, with a mean of approximately 5 tcf.