Second Cyprus Licensing Round Opens

Recent nearby giant discoveries will increase interest
This article appeared in Vol. 9, No. 2 - 2012


A map of the exploration area offshore Cyprus, over lain by the structural map of the seabed. The Aphrodite gas discovery is marked in Block 12, close to the giant Leviathan and Tamar discoveries in Israeli waters. Source: PGS The recent giant gas discovery in the area of offshore Cyprus (GEO ExPro, Vol. 9, No. 1) has made this a very attractive exploration area. As a result, interest in the second licensing round of the offshore area of the Republic of Cyprus is expected to be high. The round opened on February 11 this year and will close on May 11.

Cyprus is located in an exploration hotspot with borders to giant hydrocarbon producers Egypt and Israel. Huge natural gas discoveries have been found in the world class Levantine Basin, in particular Tamar (9 Tcf) and Leviathan (20 Tcf), both in Israeli waters. The Aphrodite well was spudded by Noble Energy in Cyprus, Block 12, in September 2011 and in December 2011 the results from the 5,860m deep well were presented: High quality multiple Miocene sand intervals, 94m net pay and a revised ‘best estimate’ natural gas volume of 5 Tcf.

It was understood that Cyprus wanted to commence their second bid round after the announcement of the first exploration well, and the government submitted the necessary documentation to Brussels for official translation and announcement by the European Commission. The round will be open for three months during which expressions of interest will be submitted by potential energy companies. The Council of Ministers will grant the licenses and the applications will be block specific. Model production sharing con tracts (PSC) will be awarded from the Republic of Cyprus for the selected applicants.

The exploration area of 51,000 km2 is part of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Cyprus, and is divided into 13 exploration blocks. The exploration blocks are, on average, approximately 4,000 km2 and span an area from the Herodotus Basin in the west to the Levantine Basin in the east. Block 1, and the northern parts of Blocks 2 and 3 are closest to the island and cover the Cyprus Arc and its deformation front. Blocks 4, 5, 6 and 10 are situated in the Herodotus Basin. Blocks 7 and 8 and the western part of Block 11 cover the Eratosthenes Continental Block and the west Eratosthenes Basin and finally the southern parts of Blocks 2, 3 and 11, together with Blocks 9, 12 and 13, cover the Levantine Basin.

Noble Energy was awarded Block 12 in 2008 after the first licensing round, as part of a three year exploration license with defined exploration commitments. At the end of the time period, 25% of the block was relinquished, and the released acreage will not be available for the second licensing round.

Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) is the official data provider and has provided Cyprus with a dense multiclient (MC) seismic data grid: The survey MC2D-CYP2006 was acquired for the first license round with a 10 km by 20 km coverage. MC2D-CYP2008 then infilled the previous survey to provide a seismic data coverage of 5 km by 5 km on average. This survey, undertaken in 2008 and 2009, utilized the GeoStreamer technology to obtain the best possible data quality and, following reprocessing in 2011, the original conventional data grid also has high data quality. Block 3 has the greatest multiclient seismic data coverage with 3D data coverage in part of the block. Geological interpretation reports based on the PGS datasets and including hydrocarbon assessments are available through the Cypriot Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.

More detailed information can be found on


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