More gas reserves needed for LNG terminal: Energy minister

Greek Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Wednesday that more local natural gas reserves than the ones currently discovered are needed to make viable the building of an LNG terminal, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

Speaking to a seminar concerning energy sufficiency and renewable sources, Lakkotrypis recalled the government’s decision to construct an on-shore Natural Gas Liquefaction Terminal, noting that this project would grant flexibility with regard to natural gas exports, bring about economic growth and would enable processing natural gas deposits from neighbouring countries.

“However, the fact remains that additional reserves in our EEZ, more than those discovered in block 12, are needed to fund and to sustain the LNG terminal,” he said.

Exploration work carried out by US Noble Energy in block 12 revealed an estimated gross mean resources of 5 trillion cubic feet (tcf), which is not considered enough to sustain an LNG plant.

“While we are continuing negotiations with US Noble and its Israeli partners Delek and Avner for the project, we succeeded in expediting the exploration drilling by Italy`s ENI in blocks 2,3 and 9 by a few months,” he added.

Noble Energy operates Block 12 with a 70% working interest. Delek Drilling Limited Partnership and Avner Oil Exploration Limited Partnership each own 15%.

Lakkotrypis met yesterday with ENI’s senior officials discussing the company`s exploration programme in the Cypriot blocks, awarded to a consortium between the Italian energy giant and Korea`s KOGAS. Furthermore, Cyprus granted exploration contracts to French energy giant TOTAL over blocks 10 and 11. Total is expected to begin exploration activity in 2015.

Furthermore, Lakkotrypis noted that recent hydrocarbon discoveries offshore Cyprus as well as discoveries in the Levant especially following the events in Ukraine could play a significant role in the security of Europe`s energy supply.

According to Noble Energy, which also has concessions for the development of major Israeli gas fields Leviathan and Tamar, exploration activities offshore Israel and Cyrpus has resulted in the discovery of approximately 40 Tcf of new gas resources for this region.

He said that according to forecasts by International Energy Agency, Europe’s dependence on natural gas imports will continue to grow from 45% or its current energy needs to 65% by 2020.

If we exploit these developments correctly always in collaboration with our neighbouring countries we will render the region as a key player in the developments concerning energy and particularly in the shaping of EU’s future energy policy beyond 2020, he concluded.

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