Cyprus to Negotiate Gas License With Eni, Novatek, Total, KoGas

Cyprus will negotiate the sale of oil and gas licenses for four blocks in its exclusive economic zone, which will be concluded in 2013, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Neoklis Sylikiotis said.

The government decided to start talks with a group consisting of Italy’s Eni SpA (ENI) and South Korea’s Korea Gas Corp. (036460) on blocks 2 and 3, another group including France’s Total SA Russia’s Novatek OAO (NVTK) and GPB Global Resources for block 9, as well as France’s Total on block 11, Sylikiotis said yesterday, according to an emailed statement.

“The reason we decided to go ahead with these four blocks is because we above all create economies of scale, given the synergies that will emerge, as they are near block 12 in which hydrocarbons were already discovered,” Sylikiotis said. “The evaluation of the other blocks continues.”

U.S. explorer Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) said in December it found as much as 8 trillion cubic feet of gas off the southern Cyprus coast. Sylikiotis said Aug. 22 that Cyprus, the fifth euro area member to request an international bailout, could receive as much as 300 million euros ($390 million) in signature bonuses from bids to explore for natural gas.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stelios Orphanides in Nicosia at sorphanides@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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