Noble completed its exploratory drilling on Aphrodite in December 2011, when it announced that it had discovered a field with an “estimated gross resource range of 5-8 trillion cubic feet (tcf), with a gross mean of 7 tcf.” Appraisal drilling is necessary to officially identify Aphrodite as a discovery and assess how much of the field’s in situ reserves can be commercially exploited. More importantly, Noble believes that the appraisal drilling could raise the original estimate of discovered reserves by as much as 30%.

If this turns out to be the case, Cyprus’ plan for a 5mn tons/year Vasilikos LNG terminal would be financially viable without additional supplies of gas from Israel’s Leviathan discovery, as was originally proposed by Noble and Delek in early 2012. The announcement of the final results of drilling on Ishai – the extension of Aphrodite into Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone – that is expected next month, should provide Cyprus with a more accurate estimate of the field’s combined potential. Appraisal drilling on Aphrodite was originally scheduled to begin in February after drilling on Ishai had been completed. Noble first postponed drilling until April, then last week announced a further delay, without specifying a new date. (CONTINUED - 665 WORDS)