Cyprus Mail

FULL: France’s Total interested in LNG facility

Total’s CEO Christophe de Margerie

By Staff Reporter

FRENCH oil major Total seems to be interested in investing in a natural gas liquefaction terminal in Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades said yesterday.

Anastasiades was speaking in Paris shortly after meeting there with Total’s CEO Christophe de Margerie. The President took the opportunity to meet Total while on an official visit to France.

The President highlighted the French company’s stated interest in speeding up exploration and possible development of hydrocarbons in its two licensed blocks.

Following the talks, which lasted an hour, Anastasiades said it was evident that “Cyprus is a priority right now for Total.”

He said also that he discussed with the French company the possibility of their accelerating the exploration process and drilling in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

For his part, Christophe de Margerie said that Total intends to speed up the process for hydrocarbons exploration, and confirmed the company would be prospecting for oil as well as for natural gas.

Total would complete its surveys of the seabed and reach a decision on whether to drill in about 12 months, he said.

Asked whether Total was interested in a stake in a planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the island, Anastasiades said “it seems that [such interest] exists.”

He said the government is currently discussing with Noble Energy and Delek – partners in the Block 12 license – their potential involvement in the LNG facility, but added that Total has the option of investing in the plant in the future should it so choose.

US energy firm Noble has a head start, being the first to have prospected for Cyprus hydrocarbons. In late 2011 the Texas-based company reported significant potential gas finds after exploratory drilling in a promising field in Block 12. Follow-up drilling at the field began a week ago.

Cyprus is seeking a deal establishing a joint venture between the state hydrocarbons company and Noble for the development of the LNG plant. The joint venture would be a special-purpose vehicle to seek out investors for the terminal.

The intended deal relates to the construction of a single train of five million tonnes per annum. The gas reserves believed to lie within Noble’s Block 12 concession alone are deemed sufficient for a one-train facility.

But the master plan for the site allows for the construction of several trains; more trains could be added to the facility in the event of additional gas discoveries in other concessions, such as Total’s.

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