Eight energy companies have submitted six applications for winning exploratory drilling rights in blocks six, eight, and ten in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The names of the companies are yet to be revealed, according to In Cyprus.

Cypriot Energy Ministry, Georgios Lakkotrypis, said that the three blocks are located close to Egyptian waters, the licenses will give the authority to the firms to explore in waters near Egypt’s Zohr field where Italian energy giant ENI had discovered the Mediterranean’s largest ever offshore natural gas field, in August 2015. Officials from ENI and Total have met with Cyprus’ President, Nicos Anastasiades, to discuss exploring the three blocks. Cyprus aims to begin exporting gas and possibly oil by 2022.

Cyprus and Egypt are currently studying the possibility of transferring gas from the Aphrodite field, which is located off the southern coast of Cyprus in the EEZ, to Egypt, through an undersea pipeline.

Ekathimerini reported that the country’s Energy Minister added that the major energy firms had strong interests in obtaining the rights to drill off the Mediterranean island. Cyprus thus hopes to become a regional energy player.