ExxonMobil has made a natural gas discovery in the so-called Block 10 area off the Cyprus island in the Eastern Mediterranean at the Glaucus-1 well, the company announced late Thursday.
ExxonMobil explained that the discovery, based on preliminary testing of the well, could represent an in-place natural gas resource of approximately 5 trillion to 8 trillion cubic feet (142 billion to 227 billion cubic meters), adding that further analysis in the coming months will be required to better determine the resource potential.
“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,” Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company, was quoted as saying.
The Stena Icemax, a drillship leased by ExxonMobil, arrived in the offshore Block 10 of the Cyprus Island to conduct upstream activities last November.
"The well, located in Block 10, encountered a gas-bearing reservoir of approximately 436 feet (133 meters). The well was safely drilled to 13,780 feet (4,200 meters) depth in 6,769 feet (2,063 meters) of water," the U.S. oil company said.
The ship began preparatory works for drilling as of Nov. 15 despite Turkey's warnings to the Greek Cypriot administration to avoid unilateral upstream activities around the island.
The Greek Cypriots previously invited ExxonMobil to bid on other unexplored blocks in the region.
These planned unilateral activities have angered Turkey, a guarantor of the Cypriot island, and on Nov. 4, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey would never allow attempts to extort natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean region without including the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey as guarantor.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy also stressed that ExxonMobil’s exploration activities in the Block 10 area do not contribute to the region’s stability.
“We seize this opportunity to reiterate our warning towards the companies involved in the unilateral exploration and exploitation activities of the Greek Cypriot Administration,” Aksoy said.
He said Turkey, as in the past, would continue to take the necessary diplomatic and political steps in coordination with the Turkish Cypriots to protect "the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriot people” that he described as “the equal owners of the Island”.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
The status of the island remains unresolved in spite of a series of discussions that resumed in May 2015.
By Ebru Sengul