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ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum have signed an exploration and production (E&P) sharing contract with the Cyprus government and will start drilling in a block offshore Cyprus in 2018, Qatar Petroleum said on Wednesday.
At the end of last year, Exxon and Qatar Petroleum won the right to negotiate E&P terms for block 10, in the third licensing round for offshore hydrocarbons exploration in blocks 6, 8, and 10 in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus. Back then, Cyprus said that it would start negotiating with the selected partners for the blocks to set terms and conditions for E&P sharing contracts. A consortium of Italy’s Eni and France’s Total won the exploration license for block 6, and Eni won the license for block 8.
Now, executives from Exxon and Qatar Petroleum and the top Cyprus government officials discussed cooperation and set the terms for the contract.
A 3D seismic survey is already being carried out in block 10, and the partners are getting ready to start exploration drilling next year, Qatar Petroleum said in its press release.
“This agreement expands our international upstream footprint into the eastern Mediterranean for what we hope is one of the most promising opportunities in the area,” Qatar Petroleum president and chief executive Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said.
Exxon is a long-term partner of Qatar Petroleum in various ventures around the world, including in partnering with the Qatari state-run company to develop the North Field, the world’s largest non-associated natural gas field, through the RasGas and Qatargas joint ventures.
Related: Why An OPEC Deal Extension Won’t Lift Oil Prices
The E&P exploration drilling deal offshore Cyprus is the latest of the flurry of deals and sanctioned projects in the eastern Mediterranean, following Eni’s discovery of the Zohr field offshore Egypt in 2015, the largest gas field ever to be discovered in the Mediterranean. Plans are that production would start by the end of this year.
In addition, the giant Leviathan natural gas field offshore Israel is also getting ahead with its development, after the partners recently ratified the final investment decision for the first phase of development which entails gross capital investment of $3.75 billion.
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.