Cypriot gov't launches 2nd gas licensing round

The new concessions are in the area of Noble Energy's Block 12 and near Israel's Leviathan and Tamar discoveries.

The "Cyprus Mail" reports that, on Thursday, the Cypriot cabinet has decided to launch the second licensing round for offshore oil and gas exploration, and said that it would not be deterred by Turkish threats. The second round will include 12 blocks located in a 51,000-square kilometer area in the Levant Basin along an arc running southwest-southeast of the island.

Cypriot government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said, After todays decision to start the second round of licensing, the government once more stresses its determination to exercise its sovereign rights in the Republic of Cyprus exclusive economic zone, always according to international law."

Stefanou said it would take up to six weeks for authorities to prepare the necessary documentation and publish proposals. Companies would then have three months to submit proposals to consultants, which will short-list companies and make recommendations to the energy minister. The cabinet would then make the final decision.

Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) is already drilling an exploratory well in Block 12 in the area. The concession is 34 kilometers from the Leviathan field, owned by Noble Energy, Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG), and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP (TASE:RATI.L), across the border in Israel's exclusive economic zone, and 60 kilometers from the Tamar field, owned by Noble Energy, Delek, and Isramco Ltd. (Nasdaq: ISRL; TASE: ISRA.L). Delek has an option to acquire 30% of Block 12. Tamar has an estimated 10 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas, Leviathan 16 TCF, and Noble Energy says that Block 12 has 3-9 TCF. Leviathan and Block 12 also have deeper oil-bearing strata.

The exploratory drilling was preceded by various specialized searches with specific findings, which allow for optimism, Stefanou told reporters. We are very close to the completion of this exploratory drilling and I believe that very soon we would be able to say more."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 27, 2011

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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