NICOSIA: A new gas discovery off Cyprus testifies to the eastern Mediterranean's "bright energy potential", the Cypriot government said Wednesday, hailing a "significant" find.
Zeus-1 is the third major discovery by Italian giant Eni and France's TotalEnergies, who together have a leading role in Nicosia's offshore energy exploration, reports AFP.
Cyprus hopes the exploitation of untapped resources could help secure Europe's energy supplies, which have been disrupted since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.
The gas find was located 162 kilometres (100 miles) off the southwest coast of Cyprus, the energy ministry and TotalEnergies said.
The drilling "revealed the existence of a 105-metre (about 345 feet) column of clean natural gas", the ministry added in a statement.
The find "confirms the region's bright energy potential", it added, calling it a "significant gas discovery".
In August, the Eni-Total consortium announced a "significant" find at the nearby Cronos-1 well, while Eni discovered the Calypso-1 gas field in 2018.
Cyprus has granted drilling licences for seven blocks to the Eni-Total consortium, which has begun to examine ways to "speed up and optimise the exploitation of the discoveries", according to the government.
The latest discovery adds to other major gas finds, including at the Aphrodite well in Block 12 of 4.5 trillion cubic feet, licensed to US firm Chevron, Britain's Shell and Israeli partners.
The Cypriot government has estimated it would take several years to commercially exploit Aphrodite, with the gas likely to be exported to nearby Egypt.
In December 2021, US giant ExxonMobil and QatarEnergy signed a contract for oil and gas exploration and production-sharing off Cyprus, angering Turkey.
Gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean has been a sore spot for the two nations due to competing claims over rights to maritime zones.
In February 2019, ExxonMobil and QatarEnergy discovered a huge natural gas reserve off Cyprus in Block 10, the island's largest find to date with an estimated five to eight trillion cubic feet.