French Company Total to Expand Natural Gas Search off Cyprus

FIE - Cyprus' Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis talks during the Eastern Mediterranean gas conference in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA (AP) — A high-ranking official with Total says the French energy company is looking to expand its search for natural gas off Cyprus’ south coast.

Stephane Michel, Total’s Middle East exploration chief, said Monday the company has applied for a license to search for hydrocarbons in Block 8, an area south of Cyprus where Italian company Eni is already licensed to carry out exploratory drilling.

Total is partners with Eni to search for oil and gas in two other areas off Cyprus. In one of the two, Eni said in February it has discovered a “promising” gas deposit with similar geological features as that of another discovery in Egyptian waters it described as the largest ever in the Mediterranean.

Cyprus Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis called Total’s move as “very significant.”