NICOSIA, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- A drilling in Cyprus's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) led to the discovery of a natural gas field which was, however, "small and non-commercial," Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said on Tuesday.
"Preliminary estimates are that the quantity of the discovered natural gas does not make the deposit a stand-alone project," Lakkotrypis told a press conference at the end of the two-month long drilling.
The drilling operation was carried out by energy giants ENI of Italy and Total of France in block 11 of the Cypriot EEZ close to the mammoth Egyptian Zohr find.
Lakotrypis said that despite the disappointment as a result of the small size of the discovery, the results were encouraging in that they confirmed the existence of a natural gas system and a carbonate reservoir below the evaporates layer, similar to that of the Zohr field.
"The extensive data collected during the drilling operation will be used to make a further study...which will help in the future exploratory program of the consortium with block 11," said Lakkotrypis.
He added that the consortium will decide within a month if it will proceed with a confirmatory drilling.
He also said that the exploration program will go ahead with planned drillings.
A consortium made up of ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum has announced two drillings in the second half of 2018 in Cyprus's block 10 in which it obtained an exploration concession during the third round of oil and gas licensing by Cyprus.
This block is also in proximity with Egypt's Zohr field.
US-based Nobble Energy has discovered a 3.5 trillion cubic feet gas field in Cyprus block 11 and is currently in the planning stage for its exploitation.