|Launch of second round of gas and oil exploration in Cyprus|
Cyprus announced on the 11/02/2012 the launch of a second licensing round for offshore oil and gas exploration blocks 1-11 & 13.
An announcement on the Cypriot Commerce Ministry's website Monday invites license applications in the next 90 days to search for mineral deposits inside 12 of 13 sections that together make up the island's 19,700 square mile (51,000 square kilometer) exclusive economic zone off its southern coast.
The announcement was first published Feb. 11 in the European Union's official journal.
The tender comes after U.S. company Noble Energy, announced a huge discovery in Block 12, of the Republic of Cyprus
After applications for the exploration permits have been evaluated, a shortlist of candidates will be drawn up and submitted to the Cabinet of ministers, to decide who gets final approval, according to the announcement posted on the Commerce Ministry’s website. 'The decision on the applications for this second licensing round offshore Cyprus ... is expected to take place within six months from the date of submission of applications,' the ministry said.
Cypriot officials are predicting more interest in the second round following Noble's discovery of an estimated 5-8 trillion cubic feet (140-230 billion cubic meters) of natural gas in Block 12, the section not up for licensing in this second round.
That quantity of gas could make the small, crude oil-dependent island energy self-sufficient for two centuries, officials said.
The Cyprus government is currently mulling ways of exploiting the gas bonanza. Among the options being considered is piping the gas to the island to meet domestic energy needs while processing excess supply for possible export to European markets and beyond.
Click here for the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Tourism announcement.