UPDATE 1-Cyprus to sign hydrocarbons exploration deal with Total
NICOSIA Feb 5 (Reuters) - Cyprus is to sign a deal for offshore hydrocarbon exploration with Total which will join three other oil majors searching for oil and gas in a largely unchartered area.
The Cypriot cabinet has approved terms of a production sharing agreement with Total, a government spokesman said, and the agreement will be signed on Wednesday.
"With this agreement, the total number of blocks under licence comes to five," said government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou.
Total's licensing will be for two blocks. Cyprus awarded exploration rights over another sea area, also comprised of two blocks, to a consortium of ENI and South Korea's Kogas on Jan. 24.
Texas-based Noble Energy reported its first natural gas find of 7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in 2011 in an area off Cyprus.
The island could have over 60 tcf of natural gas off its coast, in a maritime area known as its exclusive economic zone, Charles Ellinas, executive president of the Cyprus National Hydrocarbons Company (CNHC) told Reuters in an interview last week.
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