Chevron is seeking a drilling ship to explore for natural gas off Cyprus, Egypt and Israel as the U.S. energy major looks to meet growing demand in the region and Europe, two sources told Reuters.

Chevron, which operates in the three eastern Mediterranean countries, issued a lease tender on April 17 seeking a drilling vessel in 2024 for a year with an option to extend for several years, the sources said.

A Chevron spokesperson declined to comment on the tender, but said the company "remains committed to working together with the governments of Egypt, Israel and Cyprus and our partners in the region to support the growth of the East Mediterranean energy sector.

"The Eastern Mediterranean has abundant energy resources and the potential to enhance energy security regionally and internationally."

Energy companies have sought to develop new resources to meet growing demand from Europe since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in Feb. 2022 prompted a move away from Russian energy.

Chevron wants to expedite the development of the Aphrodite gas field to the south-east of Cyprus which is estimated to contain about 4.5 trillion cubic metres (tcf) of gas.

It also operates the giant Leviathan field offshore Israel which produces 12 billion cubic metres (Bcm) of gas per year that are supplied to Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

Chevron and its Leviathan partners NewMed Energy and Ratio Energies plan to nearly double the field's production to 21 Bcm to 24 Bcm by 2027.

They are also considering the construction of a floating liquefied natural gas facility to allow exports of the fuel to international markets, including Europe.

In Egypt, Chevron and its partner Eni earlier this year announced they had made a gas discovery in the Nargis offshore concession which they want to explore further, the sources said.

The San Ramon, California-based company became a major gas producer in the East Med basin in 2020 with the $5 billion acquisition of Noble Energy.