Offshore gas and pipeline MoU signed with Egypt
The Cypriot Minister of Energy and the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum have a signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Cairo for both the upstream and downstream exploitation of output from the ‘Aphrodite’ offshore gasfield and possible liquefaction for export using existing plants in Egypt.
Following on their meeting in Nicosia on November 25, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Egypt, Sherif Ismail and the Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Cyprus, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, signed, in the presence of the Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, a memorandum for cooperation in the field of oil and gas.
The MoU will, inter alia, facilitate the cooperation between the two countries in the development and exploitation of the Cypriot ‘Aphrodite’ gas field in block 12 of the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone, utilising gas infrastructure existing in Egypt for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
In particular, the MoU authorises the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company (CHC) Ltd to examine technical solutions for transporting natural gas, through a direct marine pipeline, from the Aphrodite field, operated by U.S. Noble Energy and its Israeli partners Delek Petroleum and Avner Drilling, to Egypt. “This will optimise the use of the gas infrastructure and achieve an added value for both Cyprus and Egypt. This undertaking will be carried out in cooperation with concerned stakeholders in upstream and liquefied natural gas (LNG) activities. The aim is to conclude an agreement within six months from the date of the signature of this memorandum of understanding,” the announcement said.
This MoU is a significant step towards strengthening cooperation between Egypt and Cyprus in the field of oil and gas, which will further deepen the friendly relations between the two countries.
Upon his return home on Monday, Lakkotrypis said that Cyprus and Egypt have taken a very important step but explained that it takes time to conclude the agreement between the two countries because the terms need to be agreed in detail.
He said that this undertaking will be carried out in cooperation with concerned stakeholders in upstream and liquefied natural gas (LNG) activities. The aim is to conclude an agreement within six months from the date of the signature of this MoU.
Cyprus had initially signed an MoU with Noble and its Israeli partners to consider setting up a liquefaction plant on the island, but the estimated reserve quantities of about 3.6 trillion cubic feet would not be sufficient to justify such an output unit. Instead of a land-based LNG plant, Noble has also pondered about a floating LNG (FLNG) unit within its licensed Block 12 of the Cyprus EEZ.