NICOSIA, Cyprus, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The Cyprus government reached an agreement with French energy company Total for a liquefied natural gas plant in the country, The Cyprus Mail reported Friday
On Thursday, the two sides signed a memorandum under which they will examine the prospects for an LNG plant along the southern coast of Cyprus, the report said.
In February, Total was awarded the rights to explore two reserve areas in the country's economic zone.
The newspaper reported Total has yet to carry out any exploration activity in the reserve areas. A survey is expected in late 2015 and, if the presence of hydrocarbons is confirmed, drilling could take place by 2016.
Total likely won't make a formal decision on whether to move ahead with the LNG project until 2017, the newspaper said.
The Mediterranean island nation is considered frontier energy territory. Its offshore area could hold nearly 12 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, analysts say.
Noble Energy, which has headquarters in Texas, announced last month it discovered a deposit of natural gas while drilling in the Levant basin off the coast of Cyprus.
Officials in Cyprus also have discussed coordinating with their Lebanese counterparts on offshore reserves.