US oil major Exxon Mobil will resume offshore drilling for natural gas later this year, Energy Minister Natasa Pilides revealed on Tuesday.
She said the drilling would take place around November to December.
Speaking to reporters after attending a session of the House energy and commerce committee, Pilides said Exxon will return to block 10 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.
The contract with the rig has already been signed, while the government is in the process of issuing the necessary permits – a routine procedure.
The minister said experts from the United States and elsewhere – who will take part in the drilling operations – have started arriving in Cyprus.
“We are on a good track, we hope not to have any surprises, nor do we expect any surprises regarding the matter of the [coronavirus] pandemic,” Pilides said.
“We anticipate the drilling programme to recommence in November to December, next ENI and Total will follow, with whom we are also speaking, and we are moving ahead with the plans,” she added.
Exxon Mobil will be carrying out an appraisal – or follow-up – drill at the site of the Glaucus-1 reservoir, discovered more than two years ago, in February 2019.
The Glaucus (or Glafcos) play, bearing an estimated 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet of gas, is the largest gas discovery to date in Cypriot economic waters.
Like other companies licensed in Cyprus, Exxon had put drilling operations on the backburner amid the coronavirus situation.
Last year, the US behemoth announced a cut in 2020 capital expenditures by 30 per cent to $23 billion from $33 billion, in response to low commodity prices resulting from oversupply and demand weakness from the Covid-19 pandemic.