Offshore gas reserve gives Cyprus shot in arm
By Marie-Martine Buckens | Thursday 12 July 2012
The discovery of offshore natural gas deposits in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is likely to give hope to the Cypriots, who for the last two years have found themselves caught up in the economic recession that until then had spared them.
Prospecting operations began in September 2011 on Block 12. Three months later, the American company Noble announced the discovery of significant natural gas resources: an estimated volume of five to eight billion m
3. These estimates make Block 12 the third largest gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean, after Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan deposits, which lie next to Block 12. The discovery of these undersea natural gas reserves in the portion of the Mediterranean located between Cyprus and Israel has boosted energy cooperation between the two countries. Their cooperation began in the wake of a deadly explosion at a power plant in Nicosia, in July 2011. Until the plant can be rebuilt, the island’s electricity is supplied by mobile generators provided by Israel. Tel Aviv is now considering laying an underwater cable to supply the island with electricity.
For gas, Nicosia still has to decide between building a gas pipeline to Greece and installing gas liquefaction units. Meanwhile, the Cypriot government launched a second licensing round for exploration and production activities, this time covering all the blocks found in the exclusive economic zone. It was announced in the
EU Official Journal of 11 February 2012. On the deadline of 11 May, 15 consortia had submitted applications for almost all the blocks. Cyprus now intends to assert its new status of energy producer to claim its slice of the energy infrastructure package cake.