22 January 2015, News Wires – France’s Total has said it has found no targets to drill on its acreage off Cyprus, according to a government minister from the Mediterranean island state.
Cypriot energy minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said the French oil major had admitted in recent months that, two years after gaining its concession, the company had failed to pinpoint reserves that would justify costly drilling, Reuters reported.
“The company informed us some months ago that it was having difficulty finding any structures, targets, in the blocks it had a licence for … and they informed us last September they had not found any target to drill,” Lakkotrypis told state radio.
Asked if authorities had been told drilling will not commence, Lakkotrypis said: “Essentially yes.”
A Total spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters that it completed its surveys on Blocks 10 and 11 without finding any potential drilling targets, adding however that Total was “currently discussing with local authorities a potential programme of additional exploration works in the area”.
Total’s remarks come a week after Italy’s Eni said its second wildcat on Block 9 had yielded only insignificant amounts of gas.
Noble Energy found gas in 2011 off Cyprus with its Aphrodite wildcat at Block 12. That discovery was recently revised to a best guess of just over 4.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 9 million barrels of condensate within five reservoir sands.
The minister said any decision by Total was not related to the territorial dispute involving Cyprus and Turkey.
Turkey has challenged Cyprus’s right to drill for gas with the rival claims of the island’s estranged Turkish Cypriots to the north of the island.
Turkey’s state-owned TPAO deployed a seismic vessel to the disputed waters in recent months, stirring long-running tensions dating to when the island of Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 following a brief Greece-inspired coup.