NICOSIA, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Italian ENI company has said that a newly discovered field off the southwestern shores of Cyprus may contain over 8 trillion cubic feet (226.5 billion cubic meters) of natural gas.
ENI's Vice-president Claudio Descalzi, in charge of the company's operations in the eastern Mediterranean, told a specialists' conference in Cairo that the field has a potential of between 6 trillion and 8 trillion cubic feet, according to a news report by state television on Tuesday.
"A new drilling to confirm the quantity of the gas is required...But I would say that it surely won't be less," he said when asked whether the quantity could reach the 8 trillion mark.
Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis told parliament on Tuesday that the drilling led to the discovery of a "large column" of excellent quality gas.
ENI is still examining the data collected from the "Calypso" drilling in carbon layers in block 6 of the Cypriot exclusive economic zone.
The geological layers are similar to those of the mammoth Egyptian field Zohr which ENI said could reach 32 trillion cubic feet.
The new Cypriot discovery brings up the quantity of natural gas discovered in two fields to over 12 trillion cubic feet.
This quantity, experts said, could sustain a two-train liquefaction plant on Cyprus. Such a plant could also be utilized by Israel, which has discovered even bigger quantities of natural gas. (1 cubic foot=0.0283 cubic meter)