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New licences will strengthen gas consortium says minister

Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Tuesday that a cabinet decision the previous day granting licences to France’s Total and Italy’s Eni for block 7 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) would strengthen the consortium in several ways.

The cabinet on Monday announced that the Total-Eni consortium had been granted a licence for exploratory drillings in block 7. Lakkotrypis said Total had also been granted a licence for blocks 2, 3, 9 and 8, where ENI has been operating.

In statements to the press at the Philoxenia Conference Centre in Nicosia, Lakkotrypis said the framework of cooperation between Cyprus and the two companies, which was an initiative of President Nicos Anastasiades and the CEOs of Total and ENI, had been concluded.

He said the cabinet had approved the granting of the block 7 licence to the two companies with a share of 50 per cent each. At the same time the cabinet granted Total a licence for blocks 2, 3, 9 and 8 in which ENI is already a licensee. According to the minister, Total will receive from ENI a share of 20 per cent for blocks 2 and 9, 30 per cent for block 3 and 40 per cent for block 8.

“We believe that this arrangement will strengthen the consortium both in technical and economic terms as well as geopolitically,” Lakkotrypis said. “All these are necessary in order for them to move on to their drilling activities uninterrupted”.

He also said that the cabinet has granted 12 month extensions for blocks 2, 3, 9, 8 and 11.

The minister said he expected nine exploratory and appraisal wells to be carried out by the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020 and over the next 24 months.

Lakkotrypis said the message was that “the Republic of Cyprus is moving forward with its energy plans”.

With regard to Turkish provocations in Cyprus’ EEZ, Lakkotrypis said: “Nicosia has been taking action at diplomatic and legal level. We will continue to do exactly the same thing to defend our country’s sovereign rights with every means at our disposal”.

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