News of the discovery of a major natural gas field off the southern coast of Cyprus could spell competition for Israel as an aspiring energy exporter.
Cypriot media reported that the reservoir, known as Calypso, is about two-thirds the size of Israel’s Tamar, and said to contain 170-230 BMC of gas. A European consortium made up of Italy’s ENI and the French company Total SA were named as the developers of the find.
However, the Cypriot government stated that the find was unconfirmed, and Israeli experts were skeptical that there’s anything to it at all.
As Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said, “The findings are encouraging, but we need more time for analysis in order to provide final confirmation that there is a gas discovery. Meanwhile, I am unwilling to talk about quantities or any other matter.” The final results of the drilling are expected to be published within a few days.
Globes quoted Israeli energy sector sources as saying “The reports should be taken with a grain of salt, because Cyprus is currently in the middle of an election campaign.”
If, on the other hand, a sizeable reservoir is confirmed, Israeli dreams of being a regional energy giant may have to be scaled down.
“Cyprus will be able to export easily to Egypt’s liquefaction facility at Damietta or the local market in Egypt, and can do so before Israel begins exporting there,” a source with energy expertise told Globes.