Cyprus awards gas rights to ExxonMobil, Qatar Energy
Cyprus has awarded drilling rights to ExxonMobil and Qatar Energy for the offshore Block 5 concession, its energy ministry reported on December 2.
The award was announced after it secured approval from Cyprus' cabinet, the ministry said. ExxonMobil will receive a 60% interest in the block, while Qatar Energy will take the remaining 40% interest. The area is adjacent to Block 10, which ExxonMobil and Qatar Energy already operate.
ExxonMobil and Qatar Energy made a large gas discovery at Block 10 in 2019, estimated at 5-8 trillion ft3 in size. But the pair postponed appraisal drilling plans at the site last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cypriot energy minister Natasa Pilides said the latest agreement with the two oil and gas companies was another "vote of confidence" in Cyprus' offshore hydrocarbon prospects.
Another of the largest known gas fields off Cyprus is the 2011 Aphrodite discovery. Cyprus' government reached a 25-year production-sharing agreement (PSA) with Chevron, Shell and Delek for Aphrodite in 2019, but development has been held up by a resource dispute with Israel. The field is estimated to hold 7 trillion ft3 of gas.