The Cypriot cabinet approved the extension of energy giant Total’s exploration license in offshore Block 11 for two years.
Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos said the Cabinet also approved the size and shape of the new exploration area in Block 11.
“This means that it was also agreed the percentage that Total will return, under the agreements signed with the Republic of Cyprus in the event of renewal of the contract,” he added.
Total’s licence expires in February 2016.
The new target lies in carbonate layers in the bedrock, taking the cue from ENI, which back in August discovered a massive natural gas reservoir in carbonate layers within Egyptian waters.
Previously, Total had deployed a different geological model, tracking sand reservoirs. Back in January, the company was ready to pull out of Cyprus having failed to identify targets, but was persuaded by the government to keep its operations going.
Total had relinquished Block 10 without drilling any wells.
The company was released from its original two-well drilling commitment – across two adjacent blocks, 10 and 11, lying on the maritime border with Egypt – but maintained exploration rights in Block 11, agreeing to continue to evaluate 3D seismic data in a bid to locate a possible target.