The government of Cyprus announced that it would push ahead with a third licensing round to search for potential natural gas deposits in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). According to a statement, the process will begin as soon as possible, but no further details were revealed, AP reported.

Unnamed sources cited by Sigmalive claimed that big interest had been expressed about licensing during the World Economic Forum at Davos in January. They, however, anticipate that questions about the timing of the decision, which seems ill-advised both politically and economically, will arise, according to Cyprus-Mail.

During Anastasiades’ meetings in Davos, the government had announced that there would be changes in the energy sector of the island.  Eni’s and TOTAL’s Heads had announced that they were interested in exploring the Cypriot EEZ.

US company Noble Energy, which received an exploration license in 2007, discovered a field around 160 km south off Cyprus. The field is estimated to contain more than 4tcf of gas. France’s Total and Italy’s Eni along with its South Korean partner KOGAS have extended by two years exploration licenses they received during a second round in 2012, according to ABCnews. In 2015, Eni discovered in waters off Egypt what it called the largest gas deposit ever found in the Mediterranean Sea.