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Gas discovery off Cyprus by Eni and Total gives Europe more options

A consortium of Italy's Eni and France's TotalEnergies has found more natural gas off Cyprus, boosting Europe's hopes for a clean break from Russian gas.

An estimated preliminary quantity of between 2-3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas was found at the Zeus-1 well in an offshore area known as Block 6, the two companies and the country's energy ministry said today.

It is the third consecutive discovery in Block 6 and "confirms the promising outlook for the area and its development", Eni said.

The east Mediterranean has yielded some of the largest natural gas discoveries in the past decade and today's discovery comes as the European Union seeks new gas sources after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The consortium in August reported an estimated 2.5 trillion cubic feet discovery in the Cronos-1 well in Block 6. It also reported a discovery in Calypso-1 in the same block in 2018.

"This is an extremely positive development in view of the energy crisis. It also expedites the prospects for development of Block 6," said energy minister Natasa Pilides.

Cyprus has licensed several blocks rimming its southern coast. It reported its first natural gas discovery in 2011, though it has yet to enter production.

The plan is for its first 2011 discovery, Aphrodite, to pipe gas to LNG infrastructure in Egypt.

Among other production options for the country's discoveries is a floating LNG facility to liquefy gas for transfer.

The exploration programme is hotly disputed by Turkey, which invaded Cyprus's northern third in 1974 after a Greek-inspired coup.

Ankara cites overlapping jurisdictions either on its own continental shelf or in waters of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in north Cyprus, which is recognised only by Turkey.

Cyprus's internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government, viewed as representing the whole island, dismisses those claims.

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