ExxonMobil has made the world’s third-biggest natural gas discovery in two years off the coast of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean at the Glaucus-1 well. The region is already known for some of the world’s largest such discoveries. It wants to become an alternative energy source for Europe.
Preliminary interpretation of the well data shows the discovery could represent a natural gas resource of approximately 5 trillion to 8 trillion cubic feet (142 billion to 227 billion cubic meters). Further analysis in the coming months will be required to better determine the resource potential.
In his remarks about the discovery, Steve Greenlee, President of Exxon Mobil Exploration Co. said “These are encouraging results in a frontier exploration area… The potential for this newly discovered resource to serve as an energy source for regional and global markets will be evaluated further.”
Glaucus-1 was the second of a two-well drilling program in Block 10. The well was safely drilled to 13,780 feet (4,200 meters) depth in 6,769 feet (2,063 meters) of water. The first well, Delphyne-1, did not encounter commercial quantities of hydrocarbons.
In 2017, ExxonMobil and state-owned Qatar Petroleum won the rights to explore for oil and gas in offshore areas south of Cyprus. ExxonMobil owns a 60 percent stake in the block, while Qatar Petroleum holds the rest. The east Mediterranean island is located in the Levant basin, where both Israel and Egypt have found some of the largest reserves of natural gas in the past decade.
At a press conference in Nicosia, Cyprus Energy Minister George Lakkotropis said he is excited about the findings. “It is an amazing development for all of Cyprus. This is the greatest discovery within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In the coming months, the amount of natural gas will be more accurately estimated,” he said.
Tristan Aspray, vice president of exploration for Europe, Russia, and the Caspian, at ExxonMobil told reporters that the next few months will be devoted to data analysis. “We need to see multiple factors such as the quality,” he stated, adding that Exxon will carry out additional drilling most likely next year.
ExxonMobil recently held talks on the sale of its oil and gas fields in Nigeria as the company focuses on new developments Reuters reported industry and banking sources as saying last week. The potential disposals are expected to include stakes in onshore and offshore fields and could raise up to $3 billion, sources told Reuters.