President Nicos Anastasiades received on Wednesday a delegation of Total, the French energy giant which holds a hydrocarbons concession in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
After the meeting, Stéphane Michel, Total Senior Vice President for the Middle East & North Africa, told reporters that “as you know Total has been awarded Block 11. We wanted to express the commitment of Total to Cyprus and to give some news on where we stand on that process.”
Asked if the company would bid for another block as part of the third round of licensing, Michel said only: “There is a round coming so we will wait for the offers to be submitted, and see. But as I said Total is definitely committed to Cyprus.”
Later, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides again spoke of “heightened interest” in the offshore acreage Cyprus is opening up for exploration.
The interest was underlined by the fact the companies themselves were taking the initiative and requesting meetings with the president, he noted.
Asked about Total’s drilling schedule, the spokesman said it was on track.
Earlier this month, the energy minister said Total planned to drill their first exploratory well in early 2017.
Christodoulides rebuffed criticism from the opposition to the effect the administration lacks a coherent energy policy.
The government is working quietly without fanfare, he said, adding that what matters most is the outcome.
Responding to another question, Christodoulides confirmed that both the president and the energy minister have received requests for meetings from other companies.
On Tuesday, Anastasiades had received delegations from two other companies active in Cyprus EEZ – Delek and ENI.
Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis is this week headed to London, and then onto Houston, Texas to promote the third licensing round, for which the deadline for official expressions of interest is fast approaching, on July 22.
In the current licensing round, the acreage opened up for bidding are Blocks 6, 8 and 10.
During the second licensing round launched in 2012, a total of 12 offshore blocks were put up for auction. In total, 15 companies and consortia had submitted bids.
The interest in the third round is understood to emanate from Egypt’s discovery last year of a massive gas reservoir that is in close proximity to the border of the Cypriot EEZ.