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Israeli company seeks gas bid

A new Israeli company is setting up shop in Cyprus to bid in the second round of licensing for the remaining 12 blocks in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). According to Israeli business website Globes, controlling partners from the limited partnership company Israel Opportunity Energy Resources have announced plans to expand their activity beyond oil and gas exploration in and around Israel, setting up a subsidiary company in Cyprus.

The local subsidiary called Cyprus Opportunity will be fully responsible for acquiring deepwater offshore licences in Cyprus’ second round of licensing. 
It is the third Israeli company interested in exploring for oil and gas in Cyprus’ EEZ, following in the footsteps of Delek Drilling and Avner Oil and Gas who partnered with US-based Noble Energy which already has an offshore concession in Cyprus’ Block 12.

Israel Opportunity officials were quoted on Sunday saying the decision to commence operations in Cyprus is due to the “great potential that exists in Cyprus’ economic waters”, noting that except for the exploratory licence for Block 12, none of the other licences have been distributed yet.

Commenting on the announcement on Sunday night, Commerce Minister Praxoulla Antoniadou said a lot of interest has been shown in participating in the second round of licensing.

She highlighted the increased interest following the ministry’s participation in three international exhibitions to promote the second round in Houston, Rome and London.

However, Antoniadou noted the government will only get a real sense of the interest for the remaining blocks following the application deadline on May 11.

The minister will participate in a conference organised by the Israeli Institute of Energy and Environment, along with the Israeli Finance Minister, next week. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first Israeli PM to visit Cyprus last month, bringing with him Israel’s energy minister Uzi Landau to discuss the potential for energy collaboration between the two countries.  

Israel has talked up the potential for collaborating with Cyprus to transport and sell their natural gas reserves to European and/or Asian markets through possible joint use of pipelines and a liquefaction plant built in Cyprus.

Noble owns 70 per cent of Block 12, and Delek Group energy exploration subsidiaries Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling LP each own 15 per cent.
Energy experts here have placed the value of the find at around €30 billion, at current natural gas prices.

Meanwhile, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman yesterday reported that Turkish energy minister Taner Yildiz said his country can facilitate the transportation of natural gas from Cyprus and Israel through a pipeline to Turkey if Tel Aviv resolves the Mavi Marmara dispute, in reference to the nine Turkish nationals killed on the ship during a raid by Israeli commandos.

Source: Cyprus Mail

13 March 2012