54_mainAn alternative, faster method for exploiting natural gas has been proposed by the US-based firm, NOBLE Energy. This ‘informal’ proposal to the government involves the positioning of a spar platform which can drill and extract natural gas faster than traditional drilling rigs. The Cyprus Mail was informed that Noble has come forward at this time due to the availability of a spar platform – used until recently in the Gulf of Mexico; allowing Noble to purchase the platform at a reduced price. Noble is planning to lay a pipeline of reduced diameter once an agreement is concluded with Cyprus to commercialise gas from Block 12, which will be directed to Vassilikos for export. The first batch of gas from the terminal Vassilikos is expected by the beginning of 2020. According to Politis, Noble’s proposal would see the gas sold at US $12 (€9) per million British Thermal Units (BTU). Although Noble’s offer appears to be rather attractive on the surface, in order to get the most out of its investment the company wants to use the spar platform for a period of five years. Noble’s proposal has not been officially confirmed, and the government is undoubtedly cautious of accepting the offer in avoidance of being accused of disloyalty, as it is already in the process of negotiating a bid for the interim supply of gas. In the meantime, Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd is considering joining the LNG consortium in Cyprus (instead of Israel). Last week, a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG terminal) was signed between the Republic of Cyprus and a consortium of US-based Noble Energy International Ltd, as well as Israeli firms from the Delek Group. Yet, it has been pointed out that none of the consortium’s members possess the sufficient knowledge and ability required to build an LNG plant, thus greatly increasing Woodside’s chances of joining Cyprus’ LNG consortium.