On Thursday, the Cypriot government granted a consortium of ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum a license to explore for natural gas offshore, Katimerini Cyprus reported.
Energy Minister Natasha Pilides said ExxonMobil will manage the Block 5 concession with a 60% stake.
“I was also allowed to sign, on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus, an exploration and production sharing agreement agreed with the consortium after intensive negotiations,” she told reporters after the approval.
According to her, the contract with the two companies will be signed at a ceremony to be held in Nicosia in the coming days.
ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Petroleum plan to drill an appraisal well in Block 10, where natural gas was discovered, by late November or early December.
In fact, to date, Cyprus has transferred the rights to most of the explored deposits to large international companies. The transfer of one of the most controversial sites No. 5 will allow the Cypriot authorities to shift responsibility for security to the United States and Qatar, which, in the event of Turkey’s actions, will be forced to defend the concessions of their companies.
Cyprus previously transferred to ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum plot # 10 bordering plot # 5, and the rest were allocated as follows:
Plots 2, 3, 9, consortium of Dutch Cogas Holding NV and South Korean ENI. Plot 6, 11 by South Korean ENI and French Total. Section 8 of the South Korean ENI. Section 12 of American Noble Energy and British-Dutch oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell.
Number 1 (closest to the island) as well as plots 7, 4 and 13 have not yet been allocated.