The Petroleum Commissioner at the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water has declared the Ishai gas exploration license to be a discovery. The ministry has thereby answered the question whether the Cypriot Aphrodite reserve is partly in Israel's economic zone, determining that the Aphrodite 2 drilling carried out in late 2012 in the Ishai license proved that the reserve is partly in the Israeli license and is an economic asset.
Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP (TASE: ISOP.L), which holds 16% of the license (subject to approval by the Petroleum Commissioner) expressed great satisfaction at the announcement. The partnership says that the decision by the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water, particularly against the background the talks currently underway between the Israeli and Cypriot governments, ensures that Israel's citizens too will benefit from the huge reserve discovered in Cyprus and that the tax on Israel's share of the reserve will accrue to the state's coffers.
The Ishai license is one of five marine drilling licenses known as the "Pelagic licenses" that spread over a total area of some 2 million dunams (772 square miles) about 170 kilometers west of Haifa and border on the Gal and Ratio-Yam licenses, in which the Leviathan structure is situated, and Noble Energy's Block 12 license in Cyprus.
In 2010, Israel Opportunity bought 10% of the licenses, and in the past year raised its share to 16%. The other partners in the license are Frendum Investments, Nammax Oil and Gas Ltd., Daden Investment, and AGR Energy Ltd.
Israel Opportunity chairman Rony Halman said, "I welcome the decision by the Petroleum Commissioner, especially given the talks with the Cypriot government. This declaration has strategic geo-political significance, far beyond its economic significance for the partners and for state revenue. We hope that the talks between Israel and Cyprus will now be expedited and that development of the Aphrodite reserve will be able to proceed."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 22, 2015
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