- Also Featured: 1Q Coal Earnings; Non-traditional batteries; an EU energy regulation update
WASHINGTON, May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Platts – The Eastern Mediterranean could become a major player in global natural gas production, but conflicts over resource ownership still pose a challenge to development, the foreign minister of Cyprus said in an interview Sunday on the all-energy news and talk program Platts Energy Week (http://www.plattsenergyweektv.com/). All video available at the afore-mentioned link.
Offshore drilling company Noble Energy in December announced the discovery of roughly 7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas offshore Cyprus. In the Eastern Mediterranean as a whole, the company has discovered an estimated 35 tcf of gas reserves.
Cyprus foreign minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis touted estimates of massive gas reserves offshore the island nation, saying that energy could feed other European Union (EU) countries, which are hungry for stable energy supplies.
"There is much need for energy security and energy supply for the European union especially from a member state of the European Union," Kozakou-Marcoullis said. "Potentially this whole area of the Eastern Mediterranean could be the most secure supply of natural gas for the European Union."
Cyprus would likely build liquefied natural gas facilities to export the gas to Europe, she said.
Cyprus has signed agreements with Lebanon, Israel and Egypt governing gas exploration in the area, which Kozakou-Marcoullis said is critical to moving forward with production in the region.
However, Turkey's decision two weeks ago to begin drilling for gas reserves onshore in the portion of the island it controls have escalated tensions over energy exploration there.
"This is totally in violation of international law," Kozakou-Marcoullis said.
The Turkish state oil company, TPAO, is drilling on Cyprus under an agreement signed last year between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), allowing TPAO to prospect for and extract hydrocarbons in TRNC territory and in waters around the island.
The agreement followed Turkish protests over the decision by the Republic of Cyprus to allow Noble Energy to start drilling in Block 12 of its exclusive economic zone before a reunification settlement.
United Nations-backed talks between the two halves of the island have been going on for years without conclusion and now appear stalled and a settlement is now seen as highly unlikely before Cyprus takes over the EU presidency in July, the announced target date for an agreement.
In the meantime, Cyprus plans to continue with its plans to expand gas development, with the second round of offshore lease bids ending on May 11, Kozakou-Marcoullis said.
In a program segment entitled, "World's Biggest Battery…For Power Providers?" Chris Shelton, president of AES Energy Storage talked about the increasing industry attention on batteries for non-traditional energy storage needs and how his company is embracing the idea.
As to energy regulation, Platts' London-based EU energy policy editors Paul Whitehead and Siobhan Hall reported on the latest EU developments in energy commodities oversight with an eye to U.S. and global implications.
This week's "Market Spotlight" focused on the financial performance of the nation's coal companies and Platts Associate Editor Charlie Noh discussed what first-quarter earnings suggest about the environment ahead.
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