UK's BG Group acquires stake in Cyprus gas search
UK energy firm BG signed a deal on Wednesday giving it a 35-percent stake in a joint US-Israel venture to exploit gas off Cyprus at an estimated cost of $165m million.
The farm-out agreement was signed in Nicosia between US-based Noble Energy, Israeli firms Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, BG and Cypriot Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis.
The deal gives BG a 35-percent share in the license to exploit block 12 in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus that includes the "Aphrodite" natural gas discovery.
Noble Energy will operate Block 12 with a 35-percent stake, while Delek and Avner still hold 15 percent each.
The signing follows approval by the Cyprus cabinet on January 18.
Texas firm Noble Energy made the first find off the island's southeast coast in 2011 in the Aphrodite field, estimated to contain around 127.4 billion cubic metres (4.54 trillion cubic feet) of gas.
Cyprus needs to find more gas reserves to make a planned onshore terminal financially viable as it seeks to become a regional energy player.
Italy's ENI and South Korea's Kogas venture and France's Total also have rights to explore untapped gas and oil deposits off Cyprus.
Cyprus and energy-starved Egypt are looking into the possibility of transferring gas from the Aphrodite field to Egypt via an undersea pipeline.
Cyprus hopes to begin exporting gas, and maybe oil, by 2022.
© 2016 AFP