Cyprus on Thursday announced cut-down figures of natural gas reserves in a marine field off its south shores, but said that these would in no way affect its plans to turn the eastern Mediterranean island into an energy hub.
Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis told a press conference in Nicosia that the quantity of the gas reserve, following a recent appraisal drilling by Texas based Noble Energy, was estimated at between 3.6 and 6 trillion cubic feet, with a median figure of 5 trillion cubic feet.
This figure differs considerably from the original estimate of between 5 and 8 trillion cubic feet after the first drilling in late 2011.
Lakkotrypis said the wide gap between the two estimates leads to the conclusion that a second appraisal drilling is necessary.
The minister added however the new figures would in no way affect the government's plan for building a gas liquefaction plant on its south shores which is also intended to handle vast Israeli gas deposits in the eastern Levantine basin.
Noble Energy Director General John Tomic said the deposit discovered in a field named Aphrodite was quite large and the gas was of good quality.
He added that building a liquefaction plant in cooperation with Cypriot authorities remained within the strategic priorities of the company.
Cypriot officials involved in the gas exploration said they were not disappointed by the lower-than-expected figures, because they are confident that another appraisal drilling will reveal more gas.
They said the entire Cypriot exclusive economic zone may contain up to 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to turn the eastern Mediterranean island into an energy supplier.