Cyprus on Thursday granted the first natural gas exploitation license to the consortium which owns the Aphrodite concession.
Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said he handed the license to Keith Elliott, senior vice president of Noble Energy Global Offshore.
The Aphrodite was discovered in 2011, and is believed to hold 3.6 to 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, local media reported.
The license — granted to Noble Energy, British Shell, and Israeli Delek — has duration of 25 years.
Lakkotrypis said the license is based on a development and production plan agreed between the government and the companies.
The plan provides for the gas to be carried to an Egyptian liquefaction facility at Ikdu via an underwater pipeline and exported to Europe and elsewhere in the form of liquid natural gas (LNG).