15/02/2007: The 15th of February was a pivotal day for the Republic of Cyprus since that day the 1st licensing round for hydrocarbon exploration actions in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone takes place. In October 2008, Noble Energy won the competition for the exploration of the block No.12. Until the end of the decade, the estimations of scientists, who supported that the East Mediterranean region is rich in hydrocarbon deposits, are verified when Noble Energy Company performs 2 successful drillings in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Israel. In January 2009, the discovery of 7,1 trillion cubic ft of natural gas in Tamar Gas Field. On the 30th of December in 2010 the biggest discovery of natural gas takes place, regarding a deposit of 16 tr.c.ft in Leviathan Gas Field.

These discoveries intrigued Noble Energy’s interest in the particle 12 of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone resulting in the performance of the first drilling on 12/09/2011 and in 116 days, Noble Energy announced the discovery of 5 tr.c.ft deposit, named Aphrodite, located under the block 12. 

 

   

Tamar Gas Field

Leviathan Gas Field

Aphrodite Gas Field

Operator

Noble Energy

Noble Energy

Noble Energy

 

  

Partners %

Noble Energy 36%

Noble Energy 39.66%

Noble Energy 35%

Isranco Neger 2 LLP 28.75%

Delek Drilling 22.67%

Shell 35%

Delek Drilling 15.625%

Avner Oil Exploration 15.625%

Delek Drilling 15%

Avner Oil Exploration 15.625%

Ratio Oil Exploration 15%

Avner Oil Exploration 15%

Dor Gas Exploration 4%

 

 

The success of these 3 drillings, performed by Noble Energy, changed the way the energy companies perceived the feasibility of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone, and showed intense interest for exploration in the area. Thus, in February 2012 the 2nd licensing round initiated regarding the exploration of the plots of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone. The competition resulted in the concession of the blocks 2, 3 and 9 to the consortium of the companies ENI/ KOGAS and of the blocks 10 and 11 to the French company, TOTAL.

 

BLOCK 2

BLOCK 3

BLOCK9

BLOCK10

BLOCK 11

Operator

ENI

ENI

ENI

TOTAL

TOTAL

 

Partners %

 

ENI 80%

ENI 80%

ENI 80%

TOTAL 100%

TOTAL 100%

Korean Gas 20%

Korean Gas 20%

Korean Gas 20%

 

 


The consortium of ENI/KOGAS were the first companies to perform the first drillings but the results were disappointing. The drilling aimed at the Onasagora reserve in block 9, and at the Amathusa reserve in the same block, which both failed to satisfy their purpose. The disappointment for these drilling efforts was justifiable and the exploration actions stopped for a significant amount of time. Indicative element of disappointment was the decision of the TOTAL Company to grant the exploration rights of the block 10 back to the Republic of Cyprus. But, things changed when the Italian Company ENI, announced a successful drilling in the Zohr deposit, in block Shorouk of the Egyptian Exclusive Economic Zone. ENI using a new way of analysis of the geological models and being the first company drilling limestone (the 3 successful drillings of the Noble Energy were made in sandstone) achieved the discovery one of the biggest deposits in the world, Zohr, estimated to reserve 30 tr.c.ft of natural gas, in August 2015. This deposit is located in the undersea mountain range, Eratostheni, 3 km away from the block 11 of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone.

The discovery of this huge deposit intrigued the interest of the energy companies for the Cypriot sea blocks, having as a result the Republic of Cyprus to announce the 3rd licensing round on 24/3/2016. On 7/3/2017 the blocks 6,8 and 11 was announced that are under the consortium of ENI/TOTA: and the block 10 under the consortium of the biggest energy company in the world, EXXON MOBIL and the Qatar Gas Company.

 

BLOCK 6

BLOCK 8

BLOCK 10

BLOCK 11

Operator

ENI

ENI

EXXON MOBIL

ENI

  

Partners %

 

ENI 50%

ENI 100%

EXXON MOBIL 80%

ENI 50%

TOTAL 50%

 

Qatar Gas 20%

TOTAL 50%

 

 

In June 2017, the companies PGS and SPECTRUM, which specialize in the analysis of earthquake data, published their studies that showed that there are many similar deposits to the Egyptian Zohr. The consortium of ENI/TOTAL started immediately the first drilling in June of 2017. In August 2017, even though the results of the drilling were disappointing as regards the discovered quantity of natural gas (0,5 tr.c.ft), the confidence of the energy companies was boosted and became very sure about the existence of the undersea hydrocarbon wealth of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone. The drilling at the target of Onisiforos in block 11, showed that the geological structures of the sea bed are similar to the ones of the Zohr deposit in Egypt. The distance that parts the two targets is 40 km.

In September of 2017 EXXON MOBIL, during a press conference in Nicosia, the plans of the company for the block 10 and the reasons behind the consortium with the Qatar Gas Company, were revealed. The Qatar Gas Company is one of the biggest companies in the production of natural gas in the world, and with its experience and expertise will help EXXON MOBIL to create a liquefaction terminal of natural gas in Cyprus.

In parallel, the American Company announced a vigorous drilling program in block 10, which included 2 back-to-back drillings in the 2nd trimester of 2018, proving in this way its belief in the hydrocarbon wealth of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone. The expectation for the discovery of large hydrocarbon quantities in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone is also evident by the Italian-Korean consortium of ENI/TOTAL targeting at the performance of one new drilling. Particularly, drilling operations will initiate in block 8, at the location of Eratosthenis South, in the 4th trimester of 2017, and by the consortium of ENI/KOGAS in block 3, at the location of Soupia, in the 1st trimester of 2018. The fifth and lass drillint of this vigorous plan will be performed by the consortium of ENI/TOTAL in block 11, at a location 4km away from the Zohr deposit, in the 4th trimester of 2018.

 

 

 

All these advances create optimistic perspectives for the potential of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone, since after the first effort on 15/02/2007, the Republic of Cyprus started to evolve from an energy consumption country to an energy production one. Simultaneously, the discoveries of new natural gas deposits will lead to the construction of a natural gas liquefaction terminal, enabling Cyprus to enter the energy sector in a dynamic way. The excellent geographical position of the island and the instability that predominates in the East Mediterranean area, make Cyprus the best and safest choice for the construction of the Energy Center of the whole region.