The owners of the rights in the Ishai license, a continuation of the Cypriot Aphrodite gas reservoir on the Israeli side of the boundary between the two countries' economic zones, wrote to Petroleum Commissioner Yosi Wurzburger and to Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz claiming that the extraction of gas on the Cypriot side would necessarily lead to the extraction of gas from Ishai as well. The approach to the ministry follows reports that Cyprus is in negotiations with Egypt on an agreement for the export of gas from Aphrodite. In addition, energy giant Shell is reported to be in talks in buying gas from the Aphrodite and Leviathan reservoirs.
In addition, the owners of the rights in Ishai, which contains just 7-10 BCM of natural gas, seek to know "what future steps will be taken in order to safeguard Israel's rights in Aphrodite, such that Cyprus will not be able to proceed with the signing of an agreement without approval from the State of Israel." The current partners in the Ishai license are Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP (TASE: ISOP.L), Nammax Oil and Gas Ltd., Eden Energy Discoveries Ltd. (TASE: EDN), and AGR Petroleum Services Holdings AS.
Israel Opportunity chairman Rony Halman said, "An Israeli concession to Cyprus and further development of the Aphrodite reservoir that ignores Israel's rights in it will represent a dangerous precedent that in the future will affect additional reservoirs in the Mediterranean basin that extend across the maritime borders between Israel and its neighbors. Such behavior will lead to a significant loss of state revenue."
Ishai is one of five maritime drillings known as the "Pelagic Licenses", which extend over a total of some 2 million dunams about 170 kilometers west of Haifa and that border the Gal and Ratio Sea licenses, in which the Leviathan structure and the Noble Energy's Block 12 structure in Cyprus are situated.
The Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources stated in response, "The position of the government of Israel is that development of the reservoir necessitates agreement between the parties on safeguarding the rights of both countries in the reservoir, and a dialogue is taking place with Cyprus on the matter."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 13, 2018
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018