Cyprus Gas Field Smaller Than Initial Estimate
by Menelaos Hadjicostis
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus said Thursday its plan to turn itself into a regional energy hub remains on track, despite new findings showing that an offshore gas field is noticeably smaller than initially estimated.
The small Mediterranean island nation, which earlier this year became the fifth country that uses the euro to receive outside financial assistance, is aiming to build a multibillion euro facility by 2019-20 to liquefy excess gas supply for export to Europe and beyond.
The facility is a key plank of the government’s plan to restore the country to financial health and the field, dubbed “Aphrodite” after the ancient Greek goddess of love who according to myth was born in Cyprus, will anchor that.
The country’s energy minister, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, said Aphrodite contains between 3.6 and 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s below a 2011 estimate that estimated the size of the field — being developed by U.S. firm Noble Energy Inc. and its Israeli partners Delek and Avner — at 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet. The field lies around 150 kilometers (93 miles) off the island’s southern coast.
Lakkotrypis said the prospects of additional gas finds inside Cypriot waters remained good, but a second appraisal well will be needed at Aphrodite for more exact estimates that may delay the facility’s construction.
“The quantities are there. The main challenge is timing,” Lakkotrypis told a news conference.
Charles Ellinas, the executive president of Cyprus National Hydrocarbons Co., told The Associated Press that a second appraisal well could delay the start of construction of the gas facility by possibly a year.
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