Cyprus’s Energy Minister Natasa Pilides signed a deal to issue ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Energy for a second exploration license for offshore drilling.
Pilides said that ExxonMobil plans to begin exploring Cyprus’s waters during the first half of 2022 to better assess its oil and gas deposits. The Energy Minister said that there are “sufficiently hopeful indications” that the area will be similar to the one discovered by ExxonMobil in 2019 that had deposits containing roughly 5-8 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Pilides celebrated the signing as the end result of a licensing process that had been going on for the past six months:
“With both the Government and the consortium having identified the geological prospects and the potential production synergies arising from licensing Block 5, and after careful examination by the Hydrocarbons Advisory Committee of the technical and economic aspects of ExxonMobil’s and Qatar Energy’s application, we proceeded to negotiate in good faith the terms of the Exploration and Production Sharing Contract that the Council of Ministers approved and we have just signed.”
The signing was held at the presidential palace with Pilides, Ali Al-Mana, manager of Qatar Energy’s international Upstream and exploration, and Varnavas Theodossiou, lead country manager for ExxonMobil in Cyprus.
Theodossiou said that the new license “enables us to further expand our presence in Cyprus in what we believe to be a promising region for offshore exploration.”
Cyprus further develops EEZ with offshore drilling
This is the tenth offshore block that Cyprus has licensed for drilling. Pilides also praised the deal as a means to further explore the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ):
“The Republic of Cyprus, in exercising its sovereign rights according to International Law, advances further the exploration of our EEZ and the consortium solidifies its presence in the very promising area of the Eastern Mediterranean,” she said.
The minister also clarified that Al-Mana and Theodossiou had their own meeting with Cyprus’s President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday, insisting on their commitment to the country’s EEZ.
“They have also informed President Anastasiades of their intention to commence, in 2022, fieldwork in Block 5 for seismic data acquisition,” she added.
Theodossiou also addressed ExxonMobil and Qatar Energy’s relationship with Cyprus as a source of energy in a statement:
“We appreciate our strong working relationship with the Cyprus Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry, and we look forward to continue working with the government of Cyprus to evaluate and help realise the country’s hydrocarbon potential,” he said.
ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Cyprus (Offshore) Limited, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation, and Qatar Petroleum International Upstream LLC, a subsidiary of QatarEnergy, will conduct work on the project.