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Cyprus to Launch Third Round for Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling



Cyprus to Launch Third Round for Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

The detection of carbonate layers in the southern part of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which could hold pockets of natural gas, was a chief reason behind the government’s decision to launch a third oil and gas licensing round, Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis has said. According to a notice recently published, in the EU’s official journal, Cyprus is now inviting bids for exploration of hydrocarbons in offshore blocks 6, 8 and 10. The acreage included in the new licensing round is largely unexplored, Lakkotrypis told reporters at the presidential palace. According to the Cyprus Mail, the areas are believed to contain carbonate layers in the bedrock, as in the case of Egypt’s Zohr discovery. “The creation and development of these carbonate structures are directly related to the existence of the Eratosthenes seamount within the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone,” he noted. And the interest expressed in recent months by energy companies, following the detection of these carbonate layers, was the other reason prompting the government to initiate a new exploration round. Responding to questions, Lakkotrypis confirmed that foreign companies had conveyed interest in exploring other blocks beyond the three selected. But after consideration the government decided to put up for auction only blocks 6, 8 and 10. Should the licenses be granted after negotiations, then Cyprus would have a total of seven offshore blocks under license, the Cyprus Mail reports.

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