The Cypriot Government is considering extending the deadline for bids for an offshore oil and gas tender, which was scheduled for April 2013, to attract maximum potential investors, which would help strengthen the country’s economy.
The government is planning to hold an auction for offshore exploration permits covering the south of the island, reported Bloomberg, citing the Cyprus Hydrocarbons State Company (Kretyk).
Cyprus has already granted licenses for exploratory drilling in six blocks to Noble Energy, Total SA and a joint venture between Eni and Korea Gas. Kretyk vice president, Solon Kassinis, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that the bidding will be complete on 26 May. However, the agency can extend the period.
Referring to the plans to export liquefied natural gas, Kassinis said: "We shall prepare requests for interest to see if we are going to collaborate to materialize LNG."
Cyprus is estimated to hold gas reserves of about 60 trillion cubic feet, which is equal to nearly 21 years of UK demand.
The gas reserves are expected to boost the country’s revenues, after it averted a sovereign default by accepting a €10bn ($13bn) bailout from the European Union.
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Kassinis noted that Noble is planning to commence drilling an appraisal well in June and is likely to begin commercial production at its field in block 12 in the Economic Exclusion Zone by the end of 2013.
The field is expected to contain nearly seven trillion cubic feet of gas, which could increase to more than ten trillion cubic feet with further exploration. Kassinis also said that the first LNG could be shipped from Cyprus by 2018, "depending on the actions we take and how fast we do it".
Total, Eni and Kogas plan to conduct seismic surveys in 2013 and drill the first wells in 2014, noted Kassinis.
In November 2012, Cyprus announced that it will continue to develop potential oil and gas reserves in the east Mediterranean Sea, amid growing tensions with neighbouring country Turkey.
Image: Cyprus is estimated to hold gas reserves of about 60 trillion cubic feet. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos / TeddyBear[Picnic].