A reserve downgrade for Cyprus’ offshore Aphrodite gas discovery is boosting interest in alternatives to the island’s favored LNG export plans.Operator Noble Energy (70%) recently completed a second appraisal well on Aphrodite’s Block 12, leading the firm to downgrade reserve estimates from 7 to 5 tcf (mean recoverable). Noble estimates resultant production at 250mn cfd.

The setback has not stopped negotiations between Noble and Nicosia on a prospective LNG terminal at Vasilikos on Cyprus’ southern coast. Cypriot officials are optimistic an agreement will be reached by end-2013 with a final investment decision taken in 2015. This is despite the fact that Noble’s initial discovery, on its own, would not seem to justify such plans. Noble plans one or more additional test wells over the coming year: Noble and Nicosia hope this will boost reserves and thus Cyprus’ LNG ambitions. Constantinos Xichilos, a deputy director at the Cyprus Ministry of Energy, told this week’s Euro Med E&P conference in Limassol, Cyprus that he expects gas production to start in 3Q 2018, with LNG exports to start a year later. (CONTINUED - 398 WORDS)