Cyprus and Turkey Speed up their Gas Research

Natural gas research in the eastern Mediterranean will result in Cyprus and Turkey engaging in activities to explore for new reserves. 

Cypriot energy Minister, Neocles Sylikiotis, met recently with a high-level delegation from Total SA in order to push forward negotiations regarding the research of a sea block awarded to the company. Cyprus has concluded final details with Italian Eni and the Korean Kogas, who have pledged to invest into researching two other sea blocks. Sylikotis in the meantime relayed to local media that over the coming years when all sea blocks are awarded, a total amount of USD 10 billion in investments should be expected based on the estimations that considerable amounts of gas will be found, similar to Noble Energy’s Block 12.

According to estimations by the Cypriot Ministry, by early 2013 all negotiations should have reached an end and by mid 2014 the newly established Cypriot hydrocarbon state agency should have found a strategic investor. The schedule details that by 2018 production at Block 12 should have started and by 2020 other potential gas reserves should also be exploited. For the moment companies such as Gazprom, Shell, BP and E.ON seem unofficially interested in becoming strategic partners with the Cypriot agency, although negotiations for that sector will commence in the near future, once the remaining blocks are awarded to various competing companies.

Turkey is also speeding up its Mediterranean gas investment strategy. It has started negotiating with the Norwegian corporation Polarcus in order for the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO) to acquire the research vessel Polarcus Samur built in 2001. TPAO is in a final negotiation stage with the Norwegians for the acquisition that is said to cost USD 165 million, according to the Oslo based bank DNB. If the deal is concluded, the vessel could be in Turkish ports by March 2013. Polarcus Samur has eight streamer sensors and multitude of other high-tech equipment for far-ranging offshore research.

The CEO of Polarcus, Rolf Ronningen, stated recently that TPAO is interested in wide-range 3D seismic research in all corners of the Turkish continental self, including the Black Sea.

It is also interesting to note that TPAO in 2011 signed an agreement with Shell to jointly conduct natural gas research in the eastern Mediterranean through an energy exploration and production sharing agreement. This deal details that first a region offshore Antalya should be explored. Shell is estimated it will contribute USD 300 million along with technical expertise and according to the Hurriyet newspaper, reserves to be found will be equally divided between TPAO and Shell.

Related Reading: Balancing Energy and Politics in Turkey

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