neo March 20, 2015 No Comments

Total Agrees to Further Exploration of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone

French energy giant Total has agreed to continue its exploration of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), following its extended deliberations with the local Government.

In January, Total revealed its intention to terminate its operations on the island, due to its inability to locate drilling target areas. The company had paid for the license for blocks 10 and 11 of the EEZ after signing two production sharing contracts with the Ministry in 2013, beginning thereafter seismic exploration for oil and gas in block 10, and in parts of blocks 6, 7 and 11.

The Cypriot Government continued, however, to hold talks with Total officials with an aim to striking a continuation of the cooperation agreement. These efforts have now come to fruition, as Minister of Energy Yiorgos Lakkotrypis signed such an agreement with the General Manager of Total E&P Cyprus B.V., Jean-Luc Porcheron yesterday.

The contract will see Total continue to explore the island’s hydrocarbon reserves in order to further assess the prospect of commercial exploitation of block 11.

neo March 20, 2015 No Comments

John Tomich: Noble Sees Significant Energy Potential in the Eastern Mediterranean

The Eastern Mediterranean is on the road to becoming a major hub for hydrocarbon production, according to John Tomich, Cyprus Country Manager of energy giant Noble.

Addressing the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Conference held in Nicosia yesterday, Tomich referred to the significant potential of the region, expressing that further exploration of its hydrocarbon reserves must be coordinated so as to more effectively evaluate the commercial opportunities that may be present.

“There is still much exploration to be done before the full potential of the Eastern Mediterranean is known, but we are off to a very good start with the major gas discoveries that have been made offshore Israel and Cyprus,” Tomich noted.

Though the Eastern Mediterranean has a bright future in the field of energy, the deep water Levant basin is still very young as a hydrocarbon province, he continued to explain, with significant exploration activity having begun a mere six years ago. “Most basins take decades to be explored and there is no expectation that the Levant will be any different,” he said.

However, Noble is committed to continuing the exploration of the region’s “substantial acreage” in search of further reservoirs, as strong evidence exists of an oil-prone hydrocarbon system. “We believe there is great untapped potential,” he affirmed.

Following four years of exploration in block 12 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, Texas-based Noble Energy is expected to submit its development strategy for the gas field, which holds a gross reserve of some 4.50 trillion cubic feet.


neo March 20, 2015 No Comments

Experts say Cyprus should explore developing petrochemical industry

Cyprus should explore the notion of developing a petrochemical industry in parallel to natural gas regional exports, experts told participants at the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Conference in Nicosia.

Symeon Kassianides, CEO of Hyperion Systems Engineering group said such an industry could potentially lead to foreign investments amounting to 4 billion and in the creation of 3,000 jobs in the period of construction. This idea has also been supported by Solon Kassinis, former head of the Ministry of Commerce`s Energy Service and former Greek PM Antonis Samaras` energy advisor. “Gas-to petrochemicals project can be a building block for the sustainable economic development through the inception of industrial sector,” Kassianides said. The comments came as Cyprus is about to engage in talks with to explore ways to export natural gas from its Aphrodite offshore concession, that holds a gross resource of 4.50 trillion cubic feet (tcf), as well as to carry gas for electricity generation in Cyprus via a pipeline.

He noted that the creation of a petrochemicals industry would increase the required natural gas quantity of natural gas to be transported to Cyprus thereby rendering a pipeline connecting the Aphrodite gas field with the Cypriot shores. According to Kassianides, the potential gas field production is estimated at 800 MMSC (million standard cubic feet) whereas the estimates for the Cyprus gas demands reach only 100 MMSC (corresponds to 1 billion cubic metres).

He noted that petrochemical industry could include a methanol plant with a capital expenditure amounting to €1 billion requiring 100 MMSCF of natural gas, an Ammonia Urea factory (a fertilizer element) with an investment in the region of €1.4 billion and a required volume of 160 MMSCF per day. Moreover the industry could also include an MTO plant (Methanol to Olefin) with a capital expenditure of 2,5 billion and a required quantity of 240 MMSCF. Kassianides pointed out that the MTO plant would increase the demand for methanol rendering the methanol plant more economically viable.
Moreover, the noted that two foreign companies are interested in investing in such infrastructure in Cyprus. Namely Methanex and Maire Technimont. He added that Methanx owns a methanol plant in Egypt which is currently offline as all gas quantities in the country are allocated for the domestic power demand.

On his part, Kassinis described the prospect of allocating natural gas reserves to a petrochemical industry as very serious and significant.
“We should definitely focus on this issue, and particular importance should be given to this sector,” he said speaking to CNA on the sidelines of the EMGC.