Eni-Kogas come up dry in Cyprus gas drill

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Eni's Rome headquarters. Photo: Eni
16:48 CET+01:00
Italian-South Korean energy consortium Eni-Kogas has failed to discover any exploitable gas reserves after deep-sea drilling off the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, the energy ministry said on Thursday.

"The drilling rig Saipem 10000 reached a depth of 5,485 meters, but did not locate any concentration of exploitable hydrocarbons," a statement said of drilling in Block nine of Cyprus's Exclusive Economic Zone.

The statement added that the consortium, which also has a license to exploit blocks two and three - wants more time to continue its search.

"Eni-Kogas, based on the data collected from the two drills, has submitted a request to proceed with the re-evaluation of its geological model, the results of which it believes will be very helpful for the continuation of the research programme," it said.

Eni holds an 80 percent stake in the blocks, while Kogas holds the balance.   

SEE ALSO: Eni upgrades forecast for Indonesian gas

In January French energy giant Total said it had failed to locate any targets to test drill in the blocks it is licensed to exploit. However, it confirmed earlier this month it would press ahead with exploration plans.

US firm Noble Energy made the first find off the southeast coast in 2011 in the Aphrodite field (Block 12), which is estimated to contain between 3.6 trillion and 6 trillion cubic feet (102 billion-170 billion cubic metres) of gas.

Earlier this month, Noble said it expected to declare its Aphrodite reserve commercially viable within weeks, paving the way for exports.

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Cyprus needs to find more gas reserves to make a planned onshore terminal financially viable as it seeks to become a regional energy player.

It had planned to build a liquefied natural gas plant that would allow exports by ship to Asia and Europe, but it seems there are insufficient reserves to make that feasible.

Cyprus and energy-starved Egypt are looking into the possibility of transferring gas from the Aphrodite field to Egypt via an undersea pipeline. Cyprus hopes to begin exporting gas, and maybe oil, by 2022.

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