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Following the giant Zohr gas discovery offshore Egypt in 2015, Cyprus has boosted efforts to award drilling licenses and hopes that the geology of Zohr extends into Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis told Reuters in an interview published on Friday.
France’s major Total will start drilling an exploratory well offshore Cyprus in July, the minister said.
“The Total well in July 2017 will be pretty significant for Cyprus not in terms of its size, but proving that the geological model based on Zohr actually extends into Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone,” Lakkotrypis told Reuters.
In March 2015, Cyprus and Total signed an agreement regarding further exploration works in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, which Total will undertake in order to further assess the prospects of exploration block 11.
At the time, Italy’s major Eni SpA had not announced yet that Zohr was a “sensational discovery”. This was confirmed in August 2015, when the Italian group said that it had discovered the biggest ever natural gas field in the Mediterranean that could hold a potential of 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas in place.
“The Zohr discovery actually triggered Cyprus’s third licensing round,” Lakkotrypis told Reuters today.
Following the third licensing round, Cyprus said in December last year that it would start negotiating with the selected partners for the blocks to set terms and conditions for exploration and production (E&P) sharing contracts. A consortium of Eni and Total won the exploration license for block 6, Eni won the license for block 8, and ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum won the right to negotiate E&P terms for block 10.
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Last month ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum signed an exploration and production (E&P) sharing contract with the Cyprus government, and will start drilling in a block offshore Cyprus in 2018.
Eni plans to drill two exploratory wells offshore Cyprus in 2017 or in early 2018, Lakkotrypis told Reuters.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.