NICOSIA, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Cyprus and U.S. energy company Noble are discussing the potential exploitation of a gas field discovered in 2011, the island's energy minister said on Wednesday.
Yiorgos Lakkotrypis also said discussions had almost concluded with French company Total on modifying an existing exploration permit after initial results showed no tangible reserves in an area where it was licensed.
He said Cypriot authorities had started discussions with Noble over its plans to develop Aphrodite, a 4.54 trillion cubic feet (tcf) gas reservoir.
"There are many steps which need to be taken, (but) it's the start of a process towards exploitation of the reserve," Lakkotrypis said.
Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration , both subsidiaries of Israel's Delek Group , each own 15 percent of Aphrodite. Texas-based Noble Energy controls the rest. Aphrodite is adjacent to the much larger Leviathan field in Israeli waters in which the three companies also hold a concession.
Total last week confirmed it had completed surveys over two Cypriot offshore blocks for which it had licenses, without finding potential drilling targets.
"An arrangement has been found with Total, and right now the legal documentation remains to be approved," Lakkotrypis said. "If that yields results then they (Total) will be with us at least until February 2016."
(Writing by Michele Kambas, editing by David Evans)
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