MILAN, Italy, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni announced it was awarded three exploration blocks in the deep waters off Cyprus.
Eni said it signed three exploration and production sharing contracts with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Cyprus.
The Italian company said it was making its debut in Cyprus with the three deep-water blocks, which cover about 4,800 square miles in the Levantine basin.
"The oil a gas industry recently showed significant attention to the Levantine Basin as it is one of the newest exploration frontiers with giant gas potential," Eni said in a statement.
Offshore reserves in the region may be a source of contention given regional rows between the Cypriot and Turkish governments. Cypriot President Demetris Christofias met recently with Lebanese officials to discuss natural resources that may lie offshore.
Cyprus is considered frontier energy territory. It has an estimated 12 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and has agreements with Egypt and Israel to examine transboundary hydrocarbon deposits, Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reported.