TROODOS, Cyprus – The presidential cabinet of the government of Cyprus has approved a request by the Eni-KOGAS consortium to extend its exploration activities by two more years, according to an online report on the Cyprus Mail website.
The exploration license was renewed for offshore blocks 2, 3, and 9 in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone. The consortium’s concession was due to expire in February 2016; it has now been extended to February 2018.
Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis was quoted to say that the consortium had asked for more time in order to “re-assess the energy potential, which is all the more necessary now after the developments in Egypt’s exclusive economic zone and the discovery of the Zohr gas reservoir.”
Last summer, Eni found gas in the Zohr prospect in the Egyptian waters – reportedly the largest gas find ever made in the Mediterranean. Zohr is located about 6 km (3.7 mi) from the boundaries of Cyprus’ block 11 and about 90 km (56 mi) from the Aphrodite reservoir in block 12.
According to a preliminary plan shown to the government a few months ago, Lakkotrypis said that the consortium would place its next drill around mid-2017. But he added that this plan depended on the consortium’s re-evaluation of its geologic model. He said that an Eni team is currently working on the geologic model for blocks 2, 3, and 9.
The report noted that the minister could have been referring to a new model employed by Eni which tracks carbonate reservoirs rather than sand reservoirs. It was this model that Eni used to discover the Zohr prospect in nearby Egyptian waters.
Lakkotrypis was quoted to say: “I hope and I expect that within January we shall have the first results from this re-evaluation.”
Previously, following two unsuccessful exploration drills in Cyprus’ block 9, Eni had been reportedly considering abandoning its operations here.
Earlier in December, the government also approved the extension of energy giant Total’s exploration license in block 11 for two years.