Italian-Korean energy consortium ENI-Kogas has begun exploratory deep-sea drilling for gas deposits off the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, officials said on friday.
It is the second block within Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone to undergo exploratory drilling since the first discovery in 2011.
“We have begun… the drilling rig is now at the sea bottom, and as I’ve said we expect to have the first results in December,” Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis told reporters.
He said the rig will drill to 5,500 meters – in a water depth of 2,500 meters – over the coming weeks.
Italy’s ENI holds an 80 percent stake in exploiting three blocks of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, while South Korea’s Kogas holds the balance.
The consortium plans more exploratory drilling over the next 18 months.
US firm Noble Energy made the first find off the southeast coast in 2011 in the Aphrodite field (Block 12), which is estimated to contain between 3.6 trillion and 6 trillion cubic feet of gas.