The prospect of pumping the oil that lies beneath the sea off Cyprus is still at a very early stage and a secondary objective for Houston-based Noble Energy, the company’s vice-chairman for the Eastern Mediterranean, Keith Elliot, said yesterday.
And the earliest they can drill for oil in block 12 - which has been leased by Noble - is the end of 2014 but more likely the beginning of 2015, he told journalists in Nicosia in a tele-conference.
“It takes a lot more work to see whether it’s drillable. The earliest is the very end of 2014 but more likely beginning of 2015. Oil prospects take us longer to examine than gas, they are deeper and more technically difficult, more planning is needed,” he said.
“It takes a very specific drilling and, getting a rig of this nature, typically takes a couple of years. We can do it in less time than that but this is the fastest possible. Oil exploration would be a secondary objective for us right now. This oil prospectively (in Cyprus) is at a very immature stage,” he added.
Nevertheless, the message coming out of Texas was that there is a commercial development in Block 12 and the company is cooperating with the Cyprus government to make it work.
A day earlier, Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis tried to quieten the hype over reports that oil was found below the gas reserves in that plot. And that cash-strapped Cyprus’ share is estimated to be worth over €60 billion.
“Noble Energy have carried out three-dimensional research in block 12 and this is now analysed and will be made public by spring 2014,” the minister said.
“That’s when we will have a clearer picture on oil reserves, but confirmation will only be made after a drill,” he added.
Noble announced its first natural gas discovery offshore Cyprus in December 2011.