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FACTDROP: Did Turkey scare the "big boys" away from Cyprus?


Did Turkey scare the "big boys" away from Cyprus?

Πηγή: Financial Mirror
May 18 2012

A mix of 15 bidders have applied for rights to explore nine blocks in the Cyprus offshore natural gas licensing round that ended on Friday. These include international heavyweights Total, Petronas, Gazprom, Marathon and ENI. 

However, some of the major players, such as BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil and Chevron were not among those bidding to search for hydrocarbons south of the island and near Israeli gas discoveries, suggesting that Turkish threats may have succeeded to scare them away. 

Total and Italy’s ENI are already involved in other ventures in Turkey, with the French company invited by TPAO to bid for search licenses in the areas off Mersin and Iskenderun, while ENI is a partner in the South Stream and Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline to bypass the Bosphorus Sea. 

Trade Industry Neoclis Sylikiotis said on Friday that the bidders were from the U.S., U.K., France, Israel, Netherlands, South Korea, Russia, Italy, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Norway, Canada, Lebanon and Cyprus. They will be reviewed and the winners of the licenses will be announced within the next six months.
He said that the most popular bids were for the licenses in Blocks 2, 3 and 9 in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone lying between Israeli and Lebanese waters. 

They are close to Block 12 that was granted to Texas-based Noble Energy that discovered a sample of an estimated 7 trillion cubic feet last December. 

Last month, Sylikiotis said that interest came from about 90 companies to buy the tender terms and the seismic surveys, with the documents alone boosting state coffers by some 10 mln euros. 

As regards cooperation with Israel, either for undersea gas pipelines or for onshore liquefaction plants, Sylikiotis had said he will discuss the matter during an upcoming visit in the next two months. 

He added that Cyprus can benefit from the import of natural gas from as early as 2016, probably from the adjacent plots within Israel’s EEZ, also developed by Noble Energy. 

Gazprom is participating in a joint venture consortium that includes France’s Total and Russia’s Novatek, in which it is a stakeholder. The Canadian Triple Five Group, that has made extensive promises to invest in Cyprus, is participating in the Canadian-Indonesian-Cypriot venture of PT Energi and Frastico. 

Cyprus-based energy group Petrolina is participating in the OAK Delta consortium.


Meanwhile, Noble Energy did not participate in the second licensing round, despite earlier interest, saying, instead, that it wanted to focus further on developing Block 12 where the initial deepwater gas finds were reported last December. 

Sylikiotis said that his team is in the “final stages” of talks with Noble to conclude the development and production agreements and that he hoped these would be concluded by the end of the month.

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