NICOSIA, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Cyprus signed a deal on Wednesday for the transfer of natural gas via pipeline to Egypt, once extraction starts of discoveries made off the Mediterranean island.
U.S. energy firm Noble found an estimated 4.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in one prospect off Cyprus in late 2011.
A consortium of Italy's ENI and Korea's KoGas have a contract with Cyprus for exploration over three offshore blocks. French oil major Total has exploration rights over one block.
Wednesday's accord was signed in the Cypriot capital Nicosia by Egyptian petroleum minister Tarek El Molla and Cypriot energy minister Yiorgios Lakkotrypis.
In a joint statement, the two said the deal would allow a direct subsea pipeline from Cyprus's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to either Egypt's EEZ or onshore Egypt, for domestic consumption or re-export.
An EEZ is a maritime area over which states have commercial rights.
Cyprus received expressions of interest from ENI, Total, Statoil, Exxon Mobil, Qatar Petroleum, and Cairn in a licensing round for another three offshore hydrocarbon blocks in a licensing round in late July.
(Reporting by Michele Kambas; Editing by Mark Potter)
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