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Cyprus-Israel deal on hydrocarbon secrecy

Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis

CYPRUS and Israel signed on Monday an agreement on the exchange and protection of confidential information on hydrocarbons discovered in Block 12 in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and in the adjacent Ishai offshore licence within Israel’s EEZ.

The agreement was signed by the deputy permanent secretary of the foreign ministry Ambassador Tasos Tzionis and Israel’s Ambassador in Nicosia Michael Harari.

According to an official statement, talks leading to the signing of the agreement were held between the negotiating teams of the two sides from November 2013 to January 2014. The confidential information will be exchanged for the purpose of assisting each government in assessing the extent of hydrocarbons discovered in their respective offshore blocks.

“The agreement is part of the external dimension of Cyprus’ energy policy, which inter alia promotes mutually beneficial cooperation with all the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean,” the same statement read.
Meanwhile energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Monday the government is “cautiously optimistic” about additional discoveries of hydrocarbons offshore Cyprus.

In a keynote speech delivered to the Global Offshore Technology Conference and Exhibition held in Limassol, Lakkotrypis said Cyprus’ exploration activity would continue in 2014 with the drilling of one more exploratory well for gas in Block 12 and possibly another appraisal well in the Aphrodite field.

He added that prospecting activities are also underway in the other five licensed blocks and that the first exploratory drilling was expected in the third quarter of 2014.

The minister reiterated that the government is convinced that a scalable land-based LNG plant remains “the best strategy forward” for Cyprus.

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