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Pilides hails new gas find, but says infrastructure still not in place

Natasa Pilides
Energy Minister Natasa Pilides

Energy Minister Natasa Pilides on Thursday said the discovery of natural gas in the ‘Zeus-1’ target, which facilitates the utilisation of the deposits identified in block 6 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), was an important development.

Speaking to Cybc’s Trito, Pilides underlined that there are prospects for exploitation, but the necessary infrastructure was not yet in place.

She pointed out that currently, the prevailing scenario is the transfer of Cypriot natural gas to terminals in Egypt.

According to Pilides, the next confirmatory drilling in the Aphrodite block will be carried out at the beginning of the new year.

She also stated that the utilisation of Cypriot natural gas by 2027 is a very achievable goal, especially for the Aphrodite field.

Between two and three trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas was found in exploratory drilling in block six by Italian energy giant ENI.

The find in the Zeus-1 of the block is at 162km from Cyprus’ coast, 5km west of the Cronos-1 site and at a depth of 2,300 metres.

The confirmation on Wednesday comes after ENI announced a similar discovery in Cronos-1 back in August, which yielded preliminary estimates of about 2.5 trillion Tcf.

The Calypso-1 gas discovery came in 2018.

ENI has been operating in Cyprus since 2013. The company operates blocks 2, 3, 6, 8 and 9, and holds stakes in blocks 7 and 11 operated by Total.

Pilides said earlier in the week that the government was awaiting Chevron’s latest studies – with a view for exports to start in 2027.

She explained that Chevron is looking at ways to export gas from the Aphrodite field, discovered in 2011, via Egypt. But Pilides said that the final study on such a move won’t be ready until next year.

The minister said she hopes that the proposal for a floating platform will gain traction although it may cost more, meaning that transport to terminals in Egypt may be more attractive.

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