French company Total was granted hydrocarbon exploration licenses in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) blocks 10 and 11, after signing two production sharing contracts with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism in Nicosia on Wednesday.
Total’s Middle East President for oil exploration and production Arnaud Breuillac said the event marked the presence of Total in Cyprus.
The revenue from the signing of the two licenses is estimated to fetch about 100 mln euros to the state coffers, while the 150 mln earned last month from the ENI/KOGAS venture for three more blocks has added 150 mln more to the bankrupt state’s revenues.
Commerce Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis said that over the next three years, up to ten exploratory drillings will take place, and that in the meantime the infrastructure must be prepared for the commercial exploitation of the hydrocarbons, which translates into thousands of jobs in the energy and other sectors.
He also referred to the financial and political benefits from the exploitation of hydrocarbons and cooperation with countries such as the US, France, Italy, Israel and South Korea, and the prospect of becoming a regional energy junction.
Breuillac said the Total group has the relevant expertise in terms of deep-water exploration and the development of large off-shore projects to fully explore and develop the potential oil and gas reserves, noting that the two blocks actually fit in very well with the new exploration strategy of Total, which is aiming at going for new place in uncharted territories.
He said Total would be doing seismic work on the two blocks, specifically 2-D seismic on block 10 and 3-D seismic on block 11.
Asked if Total would be drilling for oil first, Breuillac said "we are actually not sure at this point in time for exactly what we are going to be drilling but, as I indicated to you, we are going for two different plans on the two blocks and so we are actually might be drilling for oil or for gas," adding that it was "a bit too early to say but the possibility of oil is considered."
Sylikiotis was also asked about the second round of licensing and, replying, said it has not been completed yet and that the deadline has been extended for 180 days. So far, he noted, the procedure has been concluded for five blocks and there are applications for a further five.
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