Cyprus is hoping proceeds from its natural gas resources will lift it out of recession, and the possibility of pre-selling reserves to bring in funds early to plug its deficit is already being raised. In late October, Director of the Cyprus Energy Department, Solon Kassinis, told Cypriot TV channel RIK, that the net benefit Cyprus could derive from the exploitation of its hydrocarbon resources could be as high as €800bn. “Aphrodite alone is worth €350bn,” he noted on 26 October.

Even if this is seen as valid by the troika (IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank – ECB) which is in talks to negotiate its bailout, the government would be forced to wait for the drilling of a second “confirmatory” well by the Noble/Delek consortium before it could formally claim the estimated 7 tcf gas Aphrodite field gas as officially discovered. “Only after such a discovery is confirmed” said government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou earlier this week, “can Cyprus go to the banks and pre-sell its reserves.” This confirmatory drilling is expected to take place in 2Q13. (CONTINUED - 328 WORDS)