Tuesday 19 March 2019
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Big Find by ExxonMobil in Cyprus Would Change the Equation For the Region

A big find by ExxonMobil in block 10 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone would “change the equation for the region in a big way” former chairman of the Cyprus National Hydrocarbons Company and natural gas expert Charles Ellinas has said.

Ellinas, who was addressing the afternoon session of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas conference which takes place Wednesday 21 March and Thursday 22 March, in Nicosia, focused mainly on Egypt’s prospects in becoming an energy hub in the region.

He spoke of the introduction of new legislation recently which opens up the energy market to private companies he expressed the view that if Egypt manages to become an energy hub, it would be a positive development for the region as a whole.

At the same time, he reiterated his view that low natural gas prices “are not going to go away.” “They are here forever and we have to find ways to work with them. If we cannot, then we cannot sell. It is as simple as that,” he stressed.

Referring to prospects within Cyprus’ EEZ Ellinas said that “there are serious prospects and I am really hopeful that the drilling by ExxonMobil in block 10, which I am sure is going to happen now by the end of the year, is going to be very successful and if it is, it will change the equation for the region in a big way.”

Replying to a CNA question, later on he clarified that his hopes on the possibility of a good find in block 10 are based on the results of the seismic surveys.

Asked how he would propose to overcome the hurdle of low natural gas prices internationally he replied that if a significant discovery was made in block 10, then it would be possible that ExxonMobil would be interested in taking part in the project of a large LNG terminal in Cyprus of at least four trains, in the context of which reserves already discovered in blocks 12 and 6 of EEZ could be also used.

ExxonMobil, he noted, could use new technologies for natural gas liquefaction, which greatly reduce the cost and which in turn would make Cypriot natural gas competitive enough to export.

ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum (QP) acquired an exploration concession for block 10 as part of the third licensing round in April 2017.

In a press conference last September, Tristan Aspray, ExxonMobil Exploration’s Vice President for Europe, Russia and the Caspian Sea, said that that the company’s future steps in Cyprus will depend on the exploration results and did not rule out the possibility of Exxon participating in the construction of an LNG plant in Cyprus.

In his address at the conference, John Royal President and CEO of the Gulf Publishing Company, who organises the conference, spoke of the LNG’s potential. Based on our research and exposure, he said, gas will grow as the key energy source in the coming 20 years and we think that LNG will be the fastest growing way to distribute the gas.

On Cyprus he said that “you can see the level of expertise drawn to Cyprus,” adding that “I think that it speaks very well towards the potential here.” 

Referring to ExxonMobil, Royal said “the saying in the industry is that nobody does due diligence better than ExxonMobil so when they come in and make an investment it is usually a pretty good bet.”

On her part, Gina Cohen, Gas Consultant for the Eastern Med focused in the missed opportunities and delays in the development and exploitation of the natural gas finds in Israel, the Cyprus News Agency reports.

Referring to Cyprus she said that the only thing discussed is exporting. It is good, she noted, but added that “exporting will only give you money, it will not give you security or environmental benefits.” According to Cohen, the fiscal benefit will be less than 0.5% of your country’s budget. “My view is you should be getting a small pipeline to Cyprus and using the gas in Cyprus,” she pointed out.

Source: Gold News

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