Remarks by the Minister of Energy at the signing ceremony for the Exploration and Production Sharing Contract for Block 10 of the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus

On the occasion of the signing of the Exploration and Production Sharing Contract and the Hydrocarbons Exploration License for Block 10, I welcome to Cyprus the Senior Vice President of ExxonMobil Corporation, Mr Andrew Swiger, the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, Mr Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, and, of course, all of their associates joining us here this morning.

Their participation in today’s ceremony signals the completion of the 3rd Licensing Round for offshore exploration in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. It has been a process for which the members of the competent Negotiating Team and Advisory Committee, as well as technocrats from our Ministry, have worked hard and with full commitment to complete within a year. By exercising our sovereign rights, we feel, we have clearly achieved the target set by the Government to attract oil and gas companies with extensive experience to operate in our EEZ.

The strategic significance of ExxonMobil’s and Qatar Petroleum’s presence in the EEZ of Cyprus and, for the first time, in the Eastern Mediterranean region, is immense, especially when considering their financial depth and caliber of expertise in the field of hydrocarbons and LNG.

One of our primary goals during the 3rd Licensing Round was to advance the exploration of our EEZ, aiming, of course, at the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves. This was sufficiently reflected in the evaluation criteria of the technical part of the tender process.

I have to say that this is precisely what we have achieved. A total of twelve exploration wells will be drilled in the newly licensed Blocks 6, 8 and 10. In this regard, we welcome the commitment of the ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum consortium, expressed this morning to the President of the Republic, for the drilling of their first exploration well within 2018.

Moreover, of equal importance to our country are the financial benefits arising from signing the three new Exploration and Production Sharing Contracts. Initially, the Republic of Cyprus will receive as signature bonuses a total of Euros 103,5 million.

Our Government’s strategy, of course, extends well beyond achieving the optimal development of our hydrocarbons potential. We also invest, at the same time, in the development of Cyprus’ human resources. Hence we have secured annually a substantial amount for education and specialization purposes, for the benefit of local staff, as well as the young people of our country. In addition, tailored education and training programmes will be conducted.

We firmly believe that investing in the local human capital is a prerequisite for Cyprus to become a true energy hub in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Once more, I would like thank the representatives of the ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum consortium, our new partners in the Cypriot hydrocarbons sector, for their constructive approach during the entire 3rd Licensing process and, more importantly, for the trust they have placed on the Republic of Cyprus and its EEZ.

As commemorative of today’s signing, we are presenting each company a symbolic gift, from our Ministry’s Cyprus Handicraft Service: a copper effigy of the ancient ship of Kyrenia.

Copper was once the great source of wealth for Cyprus and the ancient ship of Kyrenia, the best preserved shipwreck in the world, was salvaged from the depths of the Cypriot sea in the ’60s. Our sincere hope, therefore, at the start of our newly established cooperation, is that it leads to the fulfillment of our common goals and expectations, for the optimal exploitation of the underwater wealth in Cyprus’ EEZ.

Source: Press and Information Office