NICOSIA - The Cypriot cabinet approved on Wednesday plans to sign for a deal with a U.S.-Israeli partnership to build a liquefied natural gas plant on the island to exploit untapped energy riches.
"The cabinet has approved the decision to sign the memorandum of understanding between Cyprus and companies Noble Energy Inc., Delek Drilling L.P. and Avner Oil Exploration Ltd. Partnership for liquefaction terminal for natural gas," said government spokesman Victor Papadopoulos.
This month, Noble started confirmation drilling off the southern coast to ascertain whether there is enough untapped gas to make the venture commercially viable.
Based on initial test drilling in 2011, the estimated amount of gas in Block 12 is 142 billion-227 billion cubic meters, the Houston-based company said. Noble owns 70% of the drilling project, with Israeli partners Delek and Avner each holding 15%.
The almost bankrupt Mediterranean island is hoping its untapped offshore energy resources can pull it back from the financial brink. It hopes to commercially export its gas, and maybe oil riches, by 2020.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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