Noble to declare Aphrodite commercially viable "within weeks"

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 if 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 import 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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