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In late 2011, Noble Energy International Ltd announced the discovery of an average of 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Block 12 in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, which opened the way to a second hydrocarbons licencing round with the involvement of some major international companies and consortia enthusiastic about exploring and exploiting in the future these potentially vast reserves.
Cyprus published a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union on 11th February 2012 inviting interested contractors to apply for hydrocarbon exploration licences and subsequent hydrocarbon exploitation licences. By the expiration of the three month bidding period on 11 May 2012 five companies and ten consortia submitted 15 bids for nine of the 12 remaining blocks. Bids were not restricted to any one block and in total 33 applications for licences were made. The interested contractors bidding in the second hydrocarbons' licencing round are; Company: Petra Petroleum Inc (Canada);Consortium: ATP East Med Number 2 B.V. (US), Naphtha Israel Petroleum Corp. Ltd (Israel), DOR Chemicals Ltd (Israel), Modi 'in Energy Limited Partnership (Israel);Company: Total E&P Activities Petrolieres (France);Consortium: Total E&P Activities Petrolieres (operator) (France), NOVATEC Overseas Exploration & Production GMbH (Russia), GPB Global Resources BV (Russia);Consortium: Premier Oil (operator) (UK), VITOL (UK);Consortium: Premier Oil (operator) (UK), VITOL (UK), Petronas (Malaysia);Consortium: Edison International S.p.A. (operator) (Italy), Delek Drilling Ltd Partnership (Israel), Avner Oil Exploration Ltd Partnership (Israel), Enel Trade S.p.A. (Italy); Woodside Energy Holdings PTY Ltd (Australia);Consortium: ENI (Italy), KOGAS (South Korea);Consortium: C.O. Cyprus Opportunity Energy Public Company Ltd (Cyprus), AGR Energy AS (operator) (Norway);Consortium: Oak Delta NG Exploration Joint Venture (US/Israel);Consortium: Capricorn Oil (UK), Marathon Oil (US); Orange NASSAU Energie (Netherlands), CC Energie S.A.L (Lebanon);Company: Winevia Holdings Ltd (Cyprus);Company: RX-DRILL ENERGY CYPRUS LTD (Cyprus);Consortium: PT Energi Mega Persada Tdk & Frastico Holdings Ltd (Canada/Indonesia/Cyprus); andCompany: Emannuelle Geoglobal Rosario (Israel).
After the application deadline, the Cypriot Minister from the Ministry convened a meeting of the Advisory Committee in order to examine each application and to see whether it was submitted in accordance with the provisions of the Law and the Hydrocarbons Regulations of 2007 and 2009, as amended from time to time. The Advisory Committee also examined the applications to insure that the information submitted complied with the requirements of the relevant Guidance Note and in order to insure that there was adequate information to make an evaluation of each of the applications. The Advisory Committee was then required to submit a reasoned opinion to the Minister as to whether or not a licence should be granted.
The final decision, however, rests with the Council of Ministers who may within six months from the start of the negotiations on the terms of the Exploration and Production Sharing Contract grant a licence to a preferred bidder. After successful negotiations with the Council of Ministers, Consortium 8 signed three EPSCs in relation to blocks 2, 3 and 9 and Company 3 signed two EPSCs in relation to blocks 10 and 11. The concession periods will be valid for 3 years with an option to renew for another 2 year period, although 25 per cent of the licenced area will have to be relinquished on each renewal. The evaluation of the remaining bids and applications will continue and it is possible that other licences may be awarded in the near future. Source: Mondaq
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