NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus' energy minister says eight companies have formally applied to carry out exploratory oil and gas drilling in waters off the island's southern coast.
Yiorgos Lakkotrypis says six applications for a drilling license were submitted for all three blocks, or areas, that were available as part of the island nation's third licensing round. He said the companies' names will be announced next week.
Lakkotrypis said after an application deadline expired Friday the government is "completely satisfied" with the outcome in light of the "difficult conditions" the oil and gas industry is going through.
U.S. company Noble Energy, France's Total and Italy's Eni received drilling licenses in previous rounds. Noble discovered a gas field off Cyprus estimated to contain more than four trillion cubic feet of gas.