Noble says gas could meet Cyprus needs by 2016

Noble says gas could meet Cyprus needs by 2016

NICOSIA – Associated Press
A senior Noble Energy official says the U.S. firm is looking at the possibility of piping offshore gas to Greek Cyprus to meet the bailed-out country’s domestic energy needs by mid-2016.

J. Keith Elliot told reporters yesterday that this could happen if the Greek Cyprus government commits to the project by the end of this year.

Elliot said a modified rig would be brought over from the Gulf of Mexico to extract gas from the field off Greek Cyprus’ south coast which would then be piped to an onshore power plant.

Noble and its Israeli partners Delek and Avner are now developing the field estimated to hold 3.6 to 6 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Elliot said Noble backs Greek Cyprus’ plan to build an onshore gas processing plant to export excess supply.

However, Greek Cyprus and its exploration partners, Texas-based Noble Energy, on Oct. 3 announced an around 5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) natural gas find, lowering the initial estimate of 7 tcf made in late 2011.

One gas official said lower estimates could briefly delay plans to start work on a $6.0 billion liquefied natural gas terminal in 2016 until more wells off Greek Cyprus are discovered, but that could be avoided with further appraisals of the prospect.

Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said the island was committed to seeing the LNG project through. Even though lower than expected, the discovery was a rare glimmer of good news for Greek Cyprus. It teetered on the brink of financial collapse in March with its one million inhabitants bracing themselves for at least two years of deep recession from an EU/IMF imposed austerity program. “Despite the lower quantities we announce today compared to those of 2011, the confirmed reserves affirm a particularly important reserve of natural gas,” Lakkotrypis told reporters.

He said a “very preliminary” estimate, based on reserves of 4.5 tcf in Noble’s prospect, placed its gross value at $50 billion. “We would be looking at a net profit for the Republic of between $12 and $18 billion over a 14 year period,” Lakkotrypis said.