Noble to de­clare Aphrodite ‘com­mer­cially vi­able’ within weeks

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Cyprus has en­tered the stage of devel­op­ment and com­mer­cial ex­ploita­tion of its hy­dro­car­bon re­serves, with En­ergy Min­is­ter Yior­gos Lakkotrypis say­ing that Noble En­ergy will sub­mit a devel­op­ment plan for the Aphrodite gas­field that holds a gross re­serve of nat­u­ral gas of 4.5 tril­lion cu­bic feet (tcf) and will de­clare it com­mer­cially vi­able within the next few weeks.

Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades met with Noble’s Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent for the Eastern Mediter­ranean Keith El­liot on Tues­day, af­ter which Lakkotrypis said that it will be the first time that the coun­try will pass from the stage of ex­plo­ration to the stage of devel­op­ment and ex­ploita­tion.

Asked if the dec­la­ra­tion means that Cyprus will begin ex­port­ing nat­u­ral gas to Egypt, Lakkotrypis said the dec­la­ra­tion sends the mes­sage abroad that we have gas for sale. This means, he added, the ex­port of nat­u­ral gas, its ex­ploita­tion in Cyprus, or a com­bi­na­tion of both.

El­liot said that as re­gards the next phase of ex­por­ta­tion, “it is some­thing that we have been look­ing for­ward to for some time now and it is a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity that we hope to bring pros­per­ity to the peo­ple of Cyprus and the gov­ern­ment of Cyprus as well as the other coun­tries of the re­gion.”

Four years af­ter the ini­tial ex­plo­ration well in block 12 in Cyprus` EEZ, US Noble En­ergy will sub­mit its devel­op­ment plan for the Aphrodite well that holds a gross re­serve of nat­u­ral gas amount­ing to 4.50 tril­lion cu­bic feet. Cyprus has al­ready en­gaged in talks with Egypt to ex­plore ways of ex­port­ing nat­u­ral gas in the neigh­bour­ing coun­try.

“Cyprus is at a turn­ing point as f we are pro­gress­ing from ex­plo­ration to ex­ploita­tion,” Lakkotrypis told the Eastern Mediter­ranean Gas Con­fer­ence in Ni­cosia later in the day.

He re­ferred to the meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dent Anas­tasi­ades and Noble’s Keith El­liot and also re­ferred to the MoU signed be­tween the gov­ern­ments of Cyprus and Egypt as well as be­tween the two coun­tries’ nat­u­ral gas com­pa­nies to ex­plore ways to ex­port nat­u­ral gas from Aphrodite via a pipe­line.

The Cyprus Hy­dro­car­bon Com­pany is also ex­plor­ing ways to i mport nat­u­ral gas to cover the is­land’s do­mes­tic de­mands.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Har­ris Ge­or­giades told the con­fer­ence that the rev­enue stream gen­er­ated by nat­u­ral gas will com­ple­ment but will not sub­sti­tute the ef­forts to con­sol­i­date and re­form the econ­omy.

En­ergy has been el­e­vated to a ma­jor gov­ern­ment pol­icy, Ge­or­giades said, not­ing that gas re­serves are very im­por­tant for the lo­cal econ­omy and the re­gion.

Ge­or­giades said that in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the rev­enues, the Min­istry is ready to bring for­ward a pro­posal to es­tab­lish a sovereign in­vest­ment fund, with the ob­jec­tive to en­sure that rev­enues are man­aged through cred­i­ble and trans­par­ent pro­ce­dures.

Ge­or­giades stressed that Cyprus is pro­mot­ing such an agenda in­volv­ing all re­gional ac­tors and that this “net­work co­op­er­a­tion in­cludes Turkey”, which could “gain sig­nif­i­cantly if it were to adopt a stance based on en­gage­ment and co­op­er­a­tion”.

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