NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A consortium made up of energy companies Eni of Italy and France’s Total is expediting plans to develop natural gas deposits off Cyprus following the discovery of a third field containing 2-3 trillion cubic feet of the hydrocarbon inside the same licensed exploration area, the Cypriot energy ministry said Wednesday.
The ministry announced the discovery at the “Zeus-1” well some 162 kilometers (100 miles) inside Block 6 off Cyprus southern coastline, at a depth of 2,300 meters (1.42 miles).
The field, containing a 105-meter (344-foot) column of gas is located just 5 kilometers (3 miles) west of the “Cronos-1” well where the consortium announced in August an estimated 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The consortium made its initial gas discovery in Block 6 in 2018 at the “Calypso-1” well, but hasn’t offered any estimates yet as to its size.
The ministry said the newest discovery “reaffirms the promising potential of the area” as Cyprus looks to export the hydrocarbon amid an energy crisis compounded by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides told The Associated Press on Monday that the amount of gas already discovered inside Cyprus’ offshore economic zone is conservatively estimated at 12-15 trillion cubic feet. Other companies also holding exploration licenses for blocks inside Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone include Chevron and partners Dutch Shell and Israeli NewMed as well as ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Petroleum.
The Eni-Total consortium holds by far the most concessions — 7 of 13 blocs that make up Cyprus’ zone.
Chevron, Shell and NewMed are developing the Aphrodite field, estimated to hold approximately 4.25 trillion cubic feet of gas that’s expected to reach markets by 2027.
There’s enough natural gas in the east Mediterranean area for export until at least 2050, according to analyses by the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, a body composed of Greece, Italy, Egypt, Cyprus, Israel, France, Jordan and Palestine.