The Cypriot Government has approved British Gas Group (BG) as a partner in the offshore Aphrodite (block 12) gas field.

Noble Energy has sold a 35% stake in the field to BG for $165m after an agreement was signed in November 2015.

The company will retain an additional 35% stake in the offshore field and serve as its operator.

Remaining partners in the field are Delek Group energy exploration and production units Avner Oil and Gas and Delek Drilling, which will each own 15%.

"It boosts the Block 12 consortium toward the purpose of commercially exploiting the Aphrodite gas reservoir."

Cyprus Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis told media sources: "It is a highly significant development, as it boosts the Block 12 consortium toward the purpose of commercially exploiting the Aphrodite [gas] reservoir."

Lakkotrypis said that before BG can officially join the consortium, it has to accept some conditions set by the government.

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Initially, the company has to sign letters accepting the production-sharing contract’s terms.

After joining as a partner in the consortium, BG is required to submit its own comments and thoughts on the development plan, Lakkotrypis added.

Aphrodite gas field off the southern coast of Cyprus is located at the exploratory drilling block 12 in the country’s maritime exclusive economic zone. It was discovered in 2011 and has gross mean natural gas resources of about four trillion cubic feet.

Block 12 is believed to hold 3.6 trillion to six trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

In October 2008, Noble Energy received the concession for exploration and signed an agreement in August 2011 with the Cypriot Government regarding the block’s commercial development.