In the next few days Cyprus will have an idea of whether a large natural gas reserve recently discovered off the coast of Egypt extends inside the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Tuesday.
“We are already working on the geological data and we’ll have a picture in the next few days,” he said.
Italian energy giant ENI recently discovered what may be a 30 trillion cubic feet (tcf) reservoir inside the Egyptian EEZ, at a site just kilometres away from the Cypriot maritime zone.
If confirmed, the Zohr prospect could be the largest ever natural gas discovery in the Mediterranean.
According to ENI, the prospect covers an area of about 100 square kilometres, and has a hydrocarbon column of 630 meters.
The site is located 3.5 nautical miles (6.5 kilometres) from the border of Block 11 of Cyprus’ EEZ. Block 11 is licensed to oil major Total.
If the reservoir does overlap, the unitisation agreement signed between Cyprus and Egypt in December 2013 would presumably kick in.
Hypothetically, should part of the Zohr prospect cross over into the Cypriot EEZ, this could represent a windfall for the state – the share of proceeds under the unitisation agreement with Egypt – without Cyprus spending a cent on development.
ENI holds three blocks inside Cyprus’ EEZ together with South Korea’s KOGAS.
ENI-KOGAS had asked the Cypriot government for an extension earlier in the year to re-evaluate its geological model after it twice failed to find exploitable hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ Block 9.
The company had asked for an extension until February 2018 to reassess the energy potential in the East Levant where they operate.