Cyprus dismisses Israel's opposition to Aphrodite development

Offshore mediterranean gas: Reuters

Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis has taken issue with Israel's opposition to the development of the Aphrodite field before the Yishai field border dispute is settled.

Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis has said that the dispute between Israel and Cyprus over the offshore border between the Yishai and Aphrodite gas fields will not affect the development of Cyprus's Aphrodite reservoir.

Lakkotrypis was responding to a report in "Globes" earlier this week, which revealed a letter sent by Israeli Energy Ministry director general Udi Adiri to Aphrodite's license holders Shell, Noble Energy and Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L) that they cannot develop the Cypriot reservoir until the border dispute with Israel's Yishai license is settled.

Lakkotrypis said, "First, development of the Aphrodite reserve is going on as planned, and second, as regards the special agreement with Israel, there is a set procedure that is being followed for some time and will continue to be followed."

He added, "But the most important thing I want to stress is that these two things, that is, the development of Aphrodite and the procedure for a special agreement, are not linked as far as the Cypriot side is concerned."

Adiri's letter had stressed, "I wish to advise you of the position of the State of Israel that the development and exploitation of the Aphrodite-Yishai field by the licensees of both states must not commence prior to reaching an agreement between the government of Israel and Cyprus."

Shell and Noble Energy each have a 35% stake in the Aphrodite field while Delek Drilling holds the remaining 30%. On November 7, Delek Drilling reported an agreement with the Cypriot government to invest $2.5-3.5 billion in developing the Aphrodite field over the next four to six years including setting up the infrastructure to export the gas via Egypt. The value of the gas in the Aphrodite field is estimated at more than $9 billion.

The holders of rights in the Yishai prospect, Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP, Nammax Oil and Gas Ltd. (controlled by Beny Steinmetz), Eden Energy Discoveries Ltd. (TASE: EDN), and AGR Petroleum Services Holdings AS estimate that there is NIS 3 billion worth of gas in the Yishai field and until Adiri's letter had complained that the Israeli government was not doing enough to protect their part of the gas field.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 10, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Offshore mediterranean gas: Reuters
Offshore mediterranean gas: Reuters
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