Cyprus halts drilling talks with Total-Novatek

AP News
Posted: Dec 19, 2012 8:54 AM

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus has broken off licensing negotiations for offshore natural gas drilling with a consortium made up of French firm Total S.A. and Russia's Novatek.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou says that progress in those talks were "unsatisfactory."

Stefanou said Wednesday negotiations will begin with a company composed of Italy's ENI S.p.a and South Korea's Kogas for the same area — or block — that the Russian-French consortium had sought to drill in.

The ENI-Kogas company is already negotiating with Cyprus to drill in two other blocks.

Total is negotiating for a block of its own and Stefanou said those talks will be expanded for a second one.

All the blocks surround a gas field estimated to hold 5-8 trillion cubic feet (140-230 billion cubic meters).