ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Petroleum on April 5, 2017, signed an agreement with Cyprus to carry out exploratory drilling off the east Mediterranean island's southern coast, where officials hope sizeable deposits of oil and gas could be found.
Qatar Petroleum Chief Executive Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said the area, or block, where the partnership is licensed to explore has «good prospects.»
«We think that there is a strong possibility that there is a structure there that could potentially hold hydrocarbons,» Al-Kaabi told The Associated Press.
Al-Kaabi said a 1st exploration well is scheduled to be drilled in the 1st half of 2018.
ExxonMobil Senior Vice President Andrew Swiger said 3-dimensional seismic surveys will 1st be carried to determine the best drilling locations within Block 10.
It's the 1st time that ExxonMobil has looked for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean, where recent large finds in Egyptian and Israeli waters have raised hopes that more could be found.
«The strategic significance of ExxonMobil's and Qatar Petroleum's presence in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus for the 1st time, in the Eastern Mediterranean region, is immense,» said Cyprus Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis.
Last month, Eni CEO Luca Bertelli told an oil and gas conference here that his company's discovery of the Zohr field off Egypt, which is estimated to told 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, has reinvigorated the interest of other major oil and gas companies in the region.
In earlier drilling in Cypriot waters, Texas-based Noble Energy discovered a field estimated to contain over 4 trillion cubic feet in reserves.
Meanwhile, Eni and Total will on Thursday sign new exploration agreements for 2 other blocks.