NICOSIA, June 6 Noble Energy will begin
drilling for natural gas at a new appraisal well off Cyprus on
Friday, Cypriot officials said on Thursday.
The U.S. company, which reported a natural gas discovery of
5-8 trillion cubic feet southeast of the island in 2011, is
conducting the appraisal to quantify and confirm the earlier
"The process is expected to last three to four months,"
Cyprus Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis said.
Cyprus, which received an international financial bailout
earlier this year, is keen to develop untapped offshore gas
reserves to power future economic growth.
Noble has rights over one offshore block south of Cyprus.
France's Total and Italy's ENI, which have
rights over other blocks, plan to drill for hydrocarbons by
The ENSCO 5006 drilling rig used by Noble was moved into
position on June 1 and the well will be 5,607 metres deep,
Neighbouring Israel has reported significant natural gas
finds, with two of its fields the largest discovered worldwide
in the past decade. Lebanon, which also neighbours Cyprus, may
have at least 30 trillion cubic feet in its waters, its energy
minister said on May 31..