Ni­cosia nod to Eni, To­tal, Exxon off­shore block deals

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

Cyprus’s cabi­net yes­ter­day ap­proved con­tracts with France’s To­tal, Italy’s Eni, Exxon Mo­bil and Qatar Petroleum to ex­plore for oil and gas in off­shore ar­eas south of the is­land, of­fi­cials said. Ex­plor­ing the Mediter­ranean’s Le­vant Basin has be­come more at­trac­tive since Eni dis­cov­ered Egypt’s off­shore Zohr field in 2015, the big­gest gas field in the Mediter­ranean and es­ti­mated to con­tain 850 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of gas. The Cypriot con­ces­sions cover ex­plo­ration rights for three off­shore blocks off the south and south­west­ern coast and con­tracts would be signed on April 5 and 6, En­ergy Min­is­ter Gior­gos Lakkotrypis said. Eni and To­tal are in a con­sor­tium for one of the blocks and Exxon Mo­bil and Qatar have joined up for an­other. Eni will be on its own in a third block. The blocks were of­fered in the third li­cens­ing round held by Cyprus. To­tal, which won rights for an­other block in a pre­vi­ous li­cens­ing round, planned to con­duct drilling this year in Block 11, which bor­ders the Zohr dis­cov­ery, Lakkotrypis said. Eni said last week said it had fi­nal­ized a deal with To­tal to buy a 50 per­cent in­ter­est in Block 11, with To­tal re­main­ing the op­er­a­tor. The Ital­ian firm planned to drill twice this year, Lakkotrypis said. “Pre­cisely what block has not yet been de­fined, that will be as­cer­tained with greater clar­ity by seis­mic data,” he added.

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