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While operations at ExxonMobil’s Glaucus 1 new-field wildcat are ongoing, local press reports suggest the well has discovered oil and gas. No resource volumes are available yet, but an announcement is expected once drilling operations are concluded. According to the reports the discovered oil reservoir is sufficiently large and commercially viable.

 

If the discovery is confirmed, it could generate further tension between Cyprus and Turkey. Although the well does not fall into territory claimed by Turkey, or the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Turkey objects to the Republic of Cyprus drilling in waters that Cyprus has asserted a claim to under international maritime law. Turkey is the only member state of the UN that does not recognise Cyprus, and is also not a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which Cyprus has signed and ratified. In addition, Turkey considers that an agreement between Cyprus and Egypt delimiting their respective economic waters is null and void.

 

Glaucus 1 was spudded by the Stena Drilling “Stena ICEMAX” drillship on 9 January 2019. It is the second NFW in a two-well, back-to-back drilling campaign being carried out by the drillship, following Delphine 1. Glaucus 1 is located on offshore Block 10, SW of Cyprus in a water depth of about 2,100m,around 15km SW of Eni’s Calypso 1 gas discovery.

 

ExxonMobil, together with Qatar Petroleum, signed an Exploration & Production Sharing Contract (EPSC) with the Cypriot Government for Block 10 in February 2017, following a successful bid in the country’s 3rd Licensing Round. The EPSC has an initial three-year exploration period, extendable for a maximum of two renewal periods of two years each.

 

Interest in the area has been renewed following Eni’s super-giant play-opening Zohr 1X gas discovery offshore Egypt, located around 50 km SE of the Block 10 boundary. Zohr was announced as a significant discovery on 1 September 2015, having encountered over 400m of net pay in sub-salt Miocene/Cretaceous carbonates in the Nile Delta Basin. An appraisal programme has confirmed the 30+ Tcf GIIP figure. The carbonate reef structure, which has an aerial extent of ~100 sq km, is perceived to be a satellite structure to the Eratosthenes Continental Block (ECB), with several analogues/lookalikes wrapping around the high and enhancing the prospectivity of Blocks 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 within the Cypriot EEZ. Eni subsequently also announced the Calypso 1 NFW on Block 6 as a promising dry gas discovery, which could hold in the range of 6-8 Tcfg (assumed to be GIIP).

 

ExxonMobil operates the acreage with a 60% interest, with Qatar Petroleum holding the remaining 40%.

Figure 1. Republic of Cyprus demarcated offshore blocks and exploration wells. Also shown are the RoC’s proclaimed and partly agreed EEZ (light blue line), the TRNC’s proclaimed EEZ and outline of demarcated blocks (red line), the outer limits of the continental shelf as claimed by Turkey (orange line) as well as Turkey’s offshore exploration wells. (This map is not an authority on international boundaries)

Figure 1. Republic of Cyprus demarcated offshore blocks and exploration wells. Also shown are the RoC’s proclaimed and partly agreed EEZ (light blue line), the TRNC’s proclaimed EEZ and outline of demarcated blocks (red line), the outer limits of the continental shelf as claimed by Turkey (orange line) as well as Turkey’s offshore exploration wells. (This map is not an authority on international boundaries)

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