By MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS – Associated Press
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A new discovery of natural gas off the southern coast of Cyprus, believed to contain around 2.5 trillion cubic feet of hydrocarbon, bolsters Europe’s efforts to secure energy sources alternatives, the Cypriot energy ministry said on Monday, as a supply crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to trouble the continent.
The ministry said in a statement that the discovery by partners Eni of Italy and France Total was made at the Cronos-1 well 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the coast in 2,287 meters (7,500 feet) of water inside the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus and is the second deposit that the Eni-Total consortium has discovered there.
The consortium did not provide any estimate of the amount of natural gas contained in the initial “Calypso” field discovered in 2018. But Eni said in a statement on Monday that the discovery of Cronos-1 “may unlock additional potential in the region. and is part of the company’s “successful efforts to deliver more gas to Europe”.
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The Cronos discovery brings to four the number of fields discovered offshore Cyprus – two by Eni-Total, one by ExxonMobil and its partners Qatar Petroleum estimated to contain 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet of gas and another by Chevron and its partners Shell and Israel’s NewMed Energy which contains up to 4.4 trillion cubic feet.
The Department of Energy said the Eni-Total consortium’s drillship, Tungsten Explorer, had now moved to a new well target to “assess gas quantities with greater accuracy”.
The Cypriot government said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had given added impetus to the search for alternative fuel sources, particularly after the European Union confirmed that natural gas could serve as a bridge fuel until in 2050 as part of the bloc’s transition to cleaner energy.
Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said the EU’s drive to wean itself off Russian gas further bolsters the inclusion of Cyprus in the 27-member bloc’s energy planning.
Pilides said the fact that the new discovery is in an area adjacent to where ExxonMobil is drilling could pave the way for cooperation with the Eni-Total consortium.
She added that the most likely scenario for getting the gas to European markets remains by pipeline to Egyptian processing plants for liquefaction and then by ship.
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