The initial estimation of the “Aphrodite’s” gas field reserves which was discovered offshore Cyprus (Block 12) at the end of 2011, was a mean gross amount of gas of about 7 TCF (trillion cubic feet). For this reason the conversion of natural gas to liquefied form (LNG) and its export to the international markets, qualified as the optimum option for exploitation.
For this purpose, Noble Energy International Ltd, "Operator" of hydrocarbons exploration activities in Block 12, evaluated, with the support of the Republic of Cyprus, the possibility of constructing and operating an onshore Liquefaction Natural Gas Plant (LNG Plant) in the Vassilikos area.
This area was selected for the development of the project as:
- It is located in an Industrial Zone,
- It provides sufficient space for the development of several liquefaction units ("LNG trains"),
- It provides a protected marine environment for the marine facilities of the LNG Plant, and
- It has good access to the existing road network.
The design of the LNG Plant included facilities for reception, processing and liquefying natural gas, power plant, other supporting and auxiliary services, operation control center, LNG storage tanks and other heavier hydrocarbons ("condensates"), jetties for loading LNG carriers and unloading equipment and materials for the production process.
According to a relevant study prepared, the specific area can accommodate up to three LNG production units (LNG Trains), with a nominal capacity of 5 MTPA (million tonnes per year) each. Moreover, the initial scenario for the LNG Plant included the construction of two LNG storage tanks with a capacity of 180,000 m3 each, with the provision to expand with a third one.
However, the unsuccessful results of the exploration wells drilled in Block 9 ("Onasagoras 1" & "Amathusa 1"), as well as the latest estimates that natural gas reserves in “Aphrodite” field range between 2.8 and 6.4 TCF, with a mean quantity of 4,5 TCF, have adversely affected the viability of the onshore LNG Plant, which currently is on hold.