EMGC '19: Cyprus minister talks big gas discoveries, regional cooperation

Adrienne Blume, Gas Processing & LNG and Hydrocarbon Processing

NICOSIA—Opening the 2019 Eastern Mediterranean Gas Conference (EMGC 2019) in Cyprus on 6 March was the Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry for the Republic of Cyprus, H. E. Yiorgos Lakkotrypis. The Minister delivered a keynote speech wherein he discussed recent gas resource developments in Cyprus and how best to monetize them.

Major new discoveries

Minister Lakkotrypis gave an update on exploration plans and discoveries, including ongoing discussions between the Cyprus Council of Ministers, Total and Eni for the licensing of Block 7; and ExxonMobil's recent, significant gas discovery made at the Glaucus-1 well in Block 10 offshore Cyprus. ExxonMobil announced on February 17 that the size of the reservoir is estimated at 5 Tft3–8 Tft3.

"Certainly more work is needed, including geophysical work," the Minister said, "but we will be hearing from [ExxonMobil] in the next few weeks about their plans for the Block 10 development."

Gas monetization choices

"How do we monetize these discoveries we have?" Minister Lakkotrypis stated. The government of Cyprus hopes to break news over next few weeks about development plans for the Aphrodite field, and is also looking at the potential of the proposed East Med gas pipeline. The Minister added that Cyprus is considering FLNG "if it makes sense," and has also been discussing LNG with Egypt.

"Until we make the choice [for how to monetize the gas]," the Minister noted, "we will be maturing all options together. When the moment comes, we will make the right choice at the right time."

Minister Lakkotrypis also noted, "We plan to manage the revenues from these discoveries in a responsible way, based on models that have been developed in the past."

Geopolitical cooperation

The Minister also discussed regional collaboration. The geopolitical challenges of the region "make it interesting," he said. In a recent initiative, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Israel, Egypt, Palestine and Jordan founded the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, an international organization dedicated to collectively producing and monetizing the region's gas resources through political cooperation.

"This shows what we are trying to achieve, not just as individual countries—because, of course, we can pursue our own strategies—but also now collectively as a group, whether we are producers, whether we are transit countries, whether we are consumers," the Minister said.

"The goal is to make the Eastern Med region competitive. We need to look at the situation holistically—what kind of infrastructure do we have, and what kind of infrastructure do we need, in order to progress with the discoveries that we have and that we will have?"

In closing, Minister Lakkotrypis asserted, "Expect to see more from the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum on how to most effectively monetize and exploit these natural gas resources … Gas is a long game. We know that, and we are prepared to work together for it."

Gulf Energy Information's EMGC 2019, co-hosted by Eni and Total, is taking place in Nicosia, Cyprus from 6–7  March.


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