The government of Cyprus said Noble Energy Inc. made a natural gas discovery offshore Cyprus on Block 12 with the Cyprus A-1 well, which encountered 310 ft of net gas pay.
Initial data emerging from exploratory drilling and evaluation checks indicate the existence of a gas reservoir of 5-8 tcf with a gross mean of 7 tcf, according to Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.
“This latest discovery in Cyprus further highlights the quality and significance of this world-class basin,” said Noble Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charles D. Davidson.
Noble said additional appraisal drilling will be required prior to the development of Cyprus Block 12, which lies 40 km north of Israel's Leviathan field—itself thought to hold an estimated 16-17 tcf of gas.
Christofides dismissed media reports of Turkish provocations in waters close to Noble’s drilling platform, including one report claiming that Turkish military vessels had opened fire on it.
Defense Minister Demetris Eliades also said there was no unusual activity in the area.
Turkey does not recognize Cyprus as a sovereign state and opposes any Greek Cypriot energy search on grounds that it undermines the rights of Turkish Cypriots to any oil and gas wealth.
Earlier this year, Ankara even sent its own research vessels with a military escort to the region, and still says it will carry out exploration of its own off the island’s southern coast unless Cyprus backs down.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and seized the island's northern third following an Athens-engineered coup seeking to unite Cyprus with Greece.
Christofias said the “utilization of natural gas could constitute an incentive for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem, a solution that would terminate the illegal occupation, reunify the country…and restore the human rights and the basic freedoms of our people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike.”
Earlier this week, Cyprus’s Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis met with Sec. of State Hillary Clinton to discuss the find and its implications for regional security.
In September, Washington announced its support for the exploratory drilling offshore Cyprus despite objections from Turkey, a main US ally.
“The United States supports Cyprus' right to explore for energy. Having a US company involved in developing the energy resources of Cyprus is also positive," said State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner.
Noble Energy operates the Cyprus A-1 well with a 70% working interest. Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration will each have 15%, subject to final approval by the Cyprus government.
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