NICOSIA, April 9 U.S. based Noble Energy Inc
said on Tuesday it planned to start an appraisal
drilling off Cyprus by June to verify previous findings of
Noble, which has reported significant findings off Israel
over the past four years, made a natural gas discovery off
neighbouring Cyprus in late 2011.
A liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to process and
subsequently export the gas was the preferred option of the
company, though that was something that would be the subject of
consultation with both countries, Noble President and Chief
Executive Charles Davidson said.
Noble, which has concessions with Israel and Cyprus, has
recovered an estimated 37 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in the sea
basin lying between both countries, Davidson told a news
briefing in Cyprus.
"Our view is that LNG is the best method for moving this to
market ... I have suggested both here and in Israel that we
believe that once you go to export outside of the domestic
market that LNG is in our view the best option," Davidson said.
The discoveries far surpassed the domestic needs of Israel
and Cyprus, he said.
An appraisal well to narrow down an estimated reserve of 5
trillion cubic feet to 8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) off Cyprus
was due to start around June and last between 75 and 90 days. It
would take up to three months after that to reach a definitive
conclusion on Cypriot reserves, Davidson said.
Noble was awarded a production sharing contract by Cyprus in
2008. Davidson said it was also seeking a strategic partner for
the project and had contacts with several companies. They were
in consultation with the Cypriot government on the matter, he