Cyprus signs contracts with Total, Eni for five blocks in EEZ

A consortium of France’s Total and Italy’s Eni has been licenced to explore for oil and gas in a new area off Cyprus’s southern coast, Greek daily Ekathimerini reported on Wednesday.

Cypriot Energy Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis said the companies have an equal share in a new block, which could hold part of a gas deposit discovered by Eni, while Total has also gained a share in four of Eni’s other concessions in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Lakkotrypis said the agreement was an “important development” in the island’s energy programme, adding that the companies would be working to a fixed timetable, with Cyprus expecting “nine exploratory and appraisal wells to be carried out by the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020, and over the next 24 months,” the Cyprus Mail reported.

The Greek Cypriots’ search for gas faces challenges from Turkey, which is conducting its own explorations around the island, including in areas claimed by Cyprus in its EEZ.

Turkey says some parts of the Cypriot EEZ lie on its continental shelf, and objects to drilling by Cyprus which it calls an infringement on the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the breakaway Republic of Northern Cyprus.