NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus' deputy government spokesman says the Cabinet has ratified a preliminary agreement with U.S. firm Noble Energy and its Israeli partners Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration on their participation in the development of a planned natural gas processing facility.

Victoras Papadopoulos didn't disclose Wednesday details of the deal. Cyprus is looking to have the estimated 10 billion euro ($13.41 billion) facility up by 2020 to process offshore gas reserves for domestic use and export. The bailed-out country hopes the project will boost its struggling economy.

Noble, Delek and its subsidiary Avner are partners in a gas field off Cyprus' southern coast that's estimated to contain 5-8 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Cyprus has also licensed Italy's ENI, France's Total and South Korea's Kogas to search for offshore gas.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.