Cyprus received expressions of interest from ENI, Total, Statoil, Exxon Mobil, Qatar Petroleum, and Cairn in a licensing round for offshore hydrocarbon blocks which lapsed last week, its energy ministry said on Wednesday.
Cyprus had placed three offshore blocks up for exploration. The most pronounced interest from two consortia and one company was for an offshore sea block in close proximity to the Zohr field offshore Egypt, where ENI reported the discovery of an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas last year.
The east Mediterranean island is located in the Levant basin, where both Israel and Egypt have made some of the world's biggest natural gas discoveries in the past decade.
Cyprus found an estimated 4.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in one prospect in late 2011.
Cairn through its Capricorn Oil unit had applied jointly with Israel's Avner and Delek over one block, ENI and Total jointly over two blocks, ENI on its own over another, Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum over one, and Statoil Upsilon Netherlands B.V. on its own, a news release from the Cypriot energy ministry said. [Reuters]