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New exploratory drilling for gas begins in September

31 July 2014

Drilling operations for gas begin offshore in September by ENI and KOGAS. Both companies who hold drilling concessions in offshore blocs 2, 3 and 9 will begin operations on bloc 9, ‘Cyprus Mail’ reports.

Yesterday, the South Cyprus government signed a preliminary agreement with the two companies who are jointly exploring for gas offshore the island.

The Ministry for Energy issued a statement which read that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is “aimed at investigating areas of cooperation related to Cyprus potential gas resources valorisation, with priority to the onshore LNG option.”

Italian energy company ENI operates the three blocs with an 80% participating interest. Its partner, Korean company KOGAS hold 20% participating interest.

South Cyprus has signed similar MoUs with Total, Noble and its Israeli partners, Delek and Avner, for the LNG plant.

The field where exploratory drilling takes place in September in Bloc 9 has been named ‘Onasagoras’ and currently looks to be the most productive of the licensed fields.

Following the signing of the agreement, energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis told the press that six potential fields in total have thus far been identified in the three blocks under license by ENI-KOGAS.

Asked whether they might be equal to ‘Aphrodite’ field in Bloc 12, the minister said only that the indications are “encouraging”. He also added that, thus far, it appears that the fields contain natural gas not oil.

The drilling rig for the ‘Onasagoras’ prospect, which is owned by Saipem, an Italian oil services group and a subsidiary of ENI, is expected to arrive offshore Cyprus in September from Mozambique.

The energy minister recently said that US energy company Noble, which holds a concession on Bloc 12, is expected to carry out its next exploratory drill in early 2015. French giant Total, with concessions on blocs 10 and 11, will be carrying out their first exploratory drilling towards the end of 2015.

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