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Hydrocarbon exploration negotiations successfully concluded

Hydrocarbons exploration platform near Cyprus coast

Cyprus has successfully completed negotiations with the selected bidders for the offshore hydrocarbon exploration licences in the island’s exclusive economic zone (ΕΕΖ) Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said on Tuesday.

The applicants selected were a consortium of ENI and Total for Block 6, Eni for Block 8, and  a consortium consisting of ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum for Block 10.

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, the minister said on March 17, the cabinet will discuss the proposals regarding the contracts agreed with the selected companies, so that they can be approved and “we can proceed with the next stage which is the signing.”

Lakkotrypis said this was a very important development for Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean in general because it reinforced the prospect of hydrocarbons in the area, especially if one looked at the research projects that have been proposed and agreed.

“Twelve months ago, when we announced the start of the third licensing round, we said that the government’s priority now were the exploration programmes and we amended the criteria somewhat so that those who drilled sooner would get a higher mark,” the minister said.

The contracts agreed reflect this expectation and show that companies believe there are prospects, he said.

He said the companies were quite optimistic as to the prospects of the Eastern Mediterranean, and more specifically the Cyprus EEZ.

Invited to say when the first results from the drilling process can be expected, he said that “we are discussing about various dates, some within 2017, however, we need to be cautious as everything depends on the companies themselves and their targets.”

As regards block 11, Lakkotrypis said the cabinet on Tuesday approved TOTAL’s application to grant 50 per cent of its rights to ENI.

He said this was a very important development because it strengthened the joint venture in Block 11.

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