By Elias Hazou
THE TERMINATION of a non-binding preliminary agreement with Australia’s Woodside Petroleum regarding the latter’s acquisition of a stake in the Leviathan licences is not expected to affect exploration and development activities in Cyprus’ Block 12, Noble Energy said yesterday.
In a written response to a query from the Cyprus News Agency, the Texas-based energy outfit said they “remain committed to monetising Block 12 gas resources and are working with the Ministry of Energy Commerce, Industry and Tourism to determine the optimum development scenario.”
Noble went on to note that the options under evaluation include the onshore LNG plant at Vasilikos, floating LNG, and export to regional Mediterranean markets via pipeline or marine compressed natural gas (CNG).
Earlier this week, Noble released a statement announcing that a non-binding memorandum of understanding regarding the sale of interest in the Leviathan licences, offshore Israel, to Woodside Petroleum, had been terminated.
“The plans for development of the Leviathan discovery have significantly changed since we began the search for a partner approximately two years ago,” said Noble chairman and CEO Charles Davidson. “Perhaps the most dramatic changes have been associated with the growth in the regional markets. The emergence of these regional markets, which are accessible through pipeline outlet, has pushed the need for LNG into a later phase of development versus our earlier plans.”
Noble said also that it aims to sanction the initial phase of development at Leviathan by the end of 2014, with first production from the field currently planned for late 2017.
“The initial development phase is planned to be a 1.6 billion cubic feet per day floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) system, to provide natural gas into Israel and surrounding regional markets. Front-end engineering and design studies are ongoing for the second phase of development at Leviathan, which is anticipated to be a floating, liquefied natural gas (FLNG) production system.”
Noble Energy’s revision of its plans reshuffles the timelines of its grander scheme for the Eastern Mediterranean. The company had unveiled their development plans for their East Med gas finds during an investors’ conference held in Houston late last year. Under those plans, the first phase of development would see Noble and their partners supply Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. The second phase was floating LNG (FLNG), and the third phase regional supply agreements – with Turkey, Egypt and lastly Cyprus being potential destinations.