Cyprus could begin exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe by 2022, according to the chairman of the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company Chairman Toula Onoufriou.
“It is important for us to begin the commercial exploitation of our stores within some quite narrow timeframes. Taking the current situation into account, we believe we can begin exporting LNG in 2022,” she said in an interview with Russian press agency ITAR-TASS.
Onoufriou went on to say that Cyprus would be able to make “strategic decisions on further steps” within six to12 months.
“If sufficient quantities of the gas are confirmed we will continue to develop plans for the construction of an onshore plant, if not we will have to consider other alternatives which are currently being examined,” she added.
Among the alternatives is a floating LNG facility, which has limitations as to production volume and as to flexibility in increasing capacity compared to an onshore plant.
Another option are pipelines to the regional market.
“Cyprus wants to develop this opportunity for the benefit of the country and we want to develop it as soon as possible. It is important not to rush things, we need to examine the various alternatives and work towards developing the right environment and preconditions for success in this area for the benefit of our country,” Onoufriou added.
Her comments come on the eve of a new gas exploration cycle offshore Cyprus. On Tuesday the Saipem 10000 ultra deepwater drillship reached its destination, in offshore Block 9.
The vessel will be prospecting for gas on behalf of the ENI-KOGAS consortium. It is expected to start drilling the first well at a potential reservoir dubbed ‘Onasagoras’.
The Italian-Korean consortium is contractually obligated to drill at least four wells during its schedule, which will span 12 to 18 months.