The second licensing round for offshore exploration of hydrocarbons in Cyprus's exclusive economic zone has now officially begun. The invitation to apply for licences was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 11 February and has subsequently been published on the website of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of the Republic of Cyprus.
The notice specifies that licence applications are to be submitted to the Minister of Commerce within 90 days of the date of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and makes clear that applications received after the deadline will not be considered.
Twelve blocks (blocks 1 to 11 inclusive and block 13) are available for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas. Block 12 was awarded to Noble Energy, Inc in the first licensing round, which took place in 2007. In December 2011 Noble Energy, Inc announced that it had discovered an estimated 5 to 8 trillion cubic feet in block 12, close to where Israel has reported significant discoveries in its exclusive economic zone.
According to the notice, the government's decision is expected to be made within six months from the date for submission of applications.
The criteria according to which bids will be assessed are set out in a separate notice. They are: the applicant's technical and financial resources; the ways in which the applicant intends to carry out the activities specified in the licence; the financial consideration that the applicant is offering in order to obtain the licence; and any lack of efficiency and responsibility that the applicant has shown under any previous licence or authorisation of any form in any country of the world.
Further criteria to be applied in the event of two or more competing applications having equal merit are the applicants' proposals regarding the protection of public safety, public health, security of transport, protection of the environment, protection of biological resources and of national treasures possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value, safety of installations and workers and planned management of hydrocarbon resources.
For further information please contact Christos Floridis
or your usual contact at Andreas Neocleous & Co LLC.