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In 2003 Cyprus demarcated its maritime border with Egypt and adopted an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to 12 nautical miles. In 2007 it demarcated its maritime border with Lebanon and announced the first offshore licensing round (11 exploration blocks). Noble Energy was granted a licence for Block 12 in 2008.
In 2010 Cyprus and Israel demarcated the maritime border and Noble discovered the Leviathan gas field in Israel near the Cyprus border. Noble commence drilling in Block 12 in 2011 whilst Turkish Cypriot authorities also granted an exploration licence to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) to explore around the island. Noble Energy announced discovery of the Aphrodite gas field in Block 12 in December 2011, 30 kms northwest of the Leviathan field.
The second offshore licensing round for blocks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 13 was announced in 2012 and the government signed contracts covering blocks 2, 3 and 9 to an ENI- Kogas consortium and blocks 10 and 11 to Total. Meanwhile 30% of Noble’s rights in Block 12 were transferred to Israeli companies Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration before appraisal drilling began in 2013.
ENI commenced drilling at the Onasagoras well in 2014 and the Amathusa well in 2015 both in Block 9. Both were dry and Total relinquished its Block 10 without drilling any wells. However the Block 12 partners declare the Aphrodite gas field commercial, now including BG Group.
ENI then announced discovery of the Zohr gas field in Egypt, the largest in the Mediterranean. Zohr lies just 6 kilometres from Block 11 and concessions are then renewed for offshore blocks 2, 3, 9 and 11.
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