* Seeks imports until 2018, when it gets own supply *
Cyprus has received 17 bids for the supply of natural gas, its state gas company said on Monday, in an interim solution until its own natural gas reserves come online around 2018.
The natural gas company, Defa, said it would not disclose more details about the process since it was bound by a confidentiality agreement with potential suppliers.
In its announcement on September 28, Defa had said it wanted to move as swiftly as possible with the process, and to come to a decision by the end of 2012.
Cyprus needs around 1.2 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year, and has said it is an interim solution until September 2018, when its own reserves are expected to come online.
The island reported a significant find offshore by Texas-based Noble Energy of between 5 trillion and 8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas last year.
Defa has said it would switch to the short-term import of natural gas - the island's power stations now heavily rely on fuel oil - if the price guaranteed a significant reduction in the cost of generating electricity.
The cost of electricity has soared in Cyprus since a deadly blast virtually levelled the largest generation facility at Vassilikos in July 2011 and the island plunged into darkness for several weeks. Rebuilding the power station is estimated to cost more than 1 bln euros.
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