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Exploratory drilling in Cyprus EEZ to be accelerated, Energy Minister says

28 May, 2014

More natural gas reserves need to be discovered within Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ) in order to proceed with plans for a liquefied natural gas terminal on the island, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis has said.

To this end, he added, exploratory drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ is expected to begin sooner than originally scheduled, namely this upcoming summer.

Asked to comment on criticism that the implementation of plans for the exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits has been delayed, Lakkotrypis said that "if today we had enough natural gas we would be within the time programme we had initially set several months ago" with regard to creating an onshore gas liquefaction terminal on the island.

In statements on the sidelines of an international conference on renewable energy sources being held in Paphos, Minister said that «right now, what is important is to find more gas and for this reason we try to accelerate the exploratory drilling procedure within Cyprus’ EEZ."

"I hope that we will start exploratory activities in the summer, rather than by the end of the year, as it was originally planned, in order to have a fuller picture of the confirmed natural gas reserves in the Cyprus’ EEZ ," he noted .

Meanwhile, the issue of hydrocarbons in the southeastern Mediterranean is expected to be at the top of the agenda at the meeting Lakkotrypis will be holding tomorrow in Lebanon with the Foreign Minister and former Minister of Energy of the neighboring country.

Minister leaves for Beirut tonight and returns tomorrow.

Cyprus is currently developing natural resources discovered within the Republic’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), while several international companies are involved in hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities. Following the first licensing round in 2007, Cyprus signed an Exploration and Production Sharing Contract with Noble Energy International Ltd, granting the company an exploration license for Block 12.

Israel’s Delek and Avner also joined this license in February 2013. In February 2012 a second licensing round was launched. As a result, Cyprus entered into another five Exploration and Production Sharing Contracts, granting three exploration licenses to Eni and KOGAS for Blocks 2, 3 and 9, in January 2013 and two exploration licenses to Total E&P Cyprus for Blocks 10 and 11, in February 2013.