Cyprus to go ahead with 3rd gas exploration licensing round

NICOSIA, Cyprus – Cyprus’ government says it will push ahead with a third licensing round to search for potential natural gas deposits off the Mediterranean island nation’s southern shores.

Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said Tuesday the process will begin as soon as possible, but offered no further details.

U.S. company Noble Energy, which received an exploration license in 2007, discovered a field around 100 miles (160 kilometres) south of Cyprus that’s estimated to contain more than four trillion cubic feet of gas.

France’s Total and Italy’s Eni along with its South Korean partner KOGAS have extended by two years exploration licenses they received during a second round in 2012.

Eni last year discovered in waters off Egypt what it called the largest gas deposit ever found in the Mediterranean Sea.