Minister of Energy: Expanding exploration and Aphrodite’s gas exploitation top energy priorities

Minister of Energy Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said on Thursday that expanding exploration within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and proceeding with the exploitation of the Aphrodite field are the two top priorities of the government’s energy policy.

Addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Cyprus Oil and Gas Association, he said that it is of utmost importance for Cyprus to have all discoveries that will enable the country not only to be able to pinpoint exactly what its resources will look like, but will also enable Cyprus to take the necessary decisions for the most optimal way to develop these resources.

Cyprus is preparing for a well in Onisiforos filed in block 11, he noted, which is important not so much because of the size of the structure, but to prove that the geological model based on Egypt’s Zohr field actually expands into the Cyprus EEZ. He added that two more wells are expected by the end of the year or by the beginning of the next, as well as more explorations in 2018 with the new licenses of the third bidding round.

Speaking about the government’s second priority, he said this is to proceed with the exploitation of the Aphrodite field in block 12.

We have looked at all the options and we have concluded that the best option for us is to utilise the energy terminals in Egypt, he said. As he added, the companies are negotiating contracts between them in order to conclude a commercial agreement that will enable the government to approve a field development plan and an exploitation licence of probably 25 years.

It is fundamentally crucial for us that we are able to close that circle and be able to proceed with our first commercial contract. It’s not easy because of technical and commercial difficulties, particularly because of the current state of the oil and gas industry worldwide, the Minister pointed out.

He also said that the government will continue to explore ways and be ready for all possibilities for the exploitation of natural gas and that for new discoveries we have all the options ahead us.

The government will also continue to expand relationships with countries of the region such as Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Greece, because, as he said, the Eastern Mediterranean region with discoveries of 2000 bcm so far, can play a significant role in being an alternative source of supply and routes to the EU.

And we feel that we can play a strong role in facilitating that discussion, Lakkotrypis pointed out.

As he said Cyprus tries as a country to limit the geopolitical challenges that companies may face and that part of the reasons for the successful third licencing round in Cyprus’ EEZ, was that the companies saw how Cyprus was trying to create a stable investment business environment where they could operate.

Addressing the meeting, President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry Phidias Pilides said that the discovery of hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ EEZ has created new and exciting prospects for Cyprus to become and energy hub in the Easter Mediterranean.

He also said the energy developments in the region and in Cyprus give us high hopes that the oil and gas sector could become a key driver of growth due to revenues from natural gas.

He pointed out the fact that by utilising its own resources, Cyprus could also have a unique opportunity to develop a specialised industry in petrochemicals, according to industry professionals.

Cyprus has attracted major energy companies in 3rd licensing round for three exploration blocks offshore the southern part of the island. Successful companies were for block 6 Eni Cyprus/Total E and P Cyprus, for block 8, Eni Cyprus and for block 10 ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Cyprus (Offshore)/Qatar Petroleum International Upstream.

French Total in cooperation with Italian ENI are planning an exploratory drilling in block 11 of Cyprus’ EEZ in the first two weeks of July.

Source: Cyprus News Agency