NICOSIA France's Total (TOTF.PA) has signed an outline deal to invest in facilities to export gas from Cyprus, which wants to exploit its reserves rapidly to help it emerge from financial crisis, government sources said.
Total, Italy's Eni (ENI.MI), South Korea's Kogas (036460.KS) and Noble Energy (NBL.N) are among the energy firms that have signed deals to explore Cyprus's new-found gas potential.
Government officials in Cyprus said on Tuesday that Total had signed a memorandum of understanding on a second liquefied natural gas (LNG) production line, known as a train in the industry.
The estimated cost would be $3 billion, they said, which would be in addition to the estimated $6 billion cost of the first LNG train.
Further details on the terminal and the first train are likely to come out on Wednesday, when Cyprus is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with Noble, Delek Drilling (DEDRp.TA) and Avner Oil Exploration (AVNRp.TA) to develop it.
Shipment of Cypriot gas by pipeline eventually could be possible, but in the shorter term Cyprus aims to start building an LNG terminal by early 2016 and start LNG exports from 2019.
Total officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, Michele Kambas in Nicosia, Michel Rose in Paris; writing by Barbara Lewis; editing by Jane Baird)