Anastasiades: Aphrodite field commercialisation a priority
The commercial utilisation of the 4.5 tcf natural gas reserve “Aphrodite” remains a priority for the government, which, depending on expected future discoveries, is considering several monetisation scenarios including an LNG plant in Vasilikos, President Anastasiades has said.
Addressing the Mediterranean Oil and Gas Forum taking place in Nicosia, Anastasiades outlined Cyprus’ hydrocarbons development strategy, stressing at the same time the need for cooperation among the neighbouring countries that would enable the exploitation of the region’s natural gas reserves.
Anastasiades said: “The Cypriot hydrocarbons sector has, over the past couple of years, gained new momentum,” noting that in 2017 will be marked by further exploration activities, namely an exploration drilling by the French energy heavyweight TOTAL in block 11, whereas ENI and Kogas will also resume their exploration program.
He described the results of the third licensing round as promising, as “despite the challenging investment environment in the oil and gas industry, we have received applications for all three available Blocks, by companies and consortia of the highest calibre.”
Anastasiades noted that negotiations with the selected applicants for the terms of the exploration and production-sharing contracts are in the final stages. The applicants selected are the consortium of ENI and Total for Block 6, Eni for Block 8 and the consortium of ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum for Block 10.
“We expect these Blocks to be awarded very soon and that our new licensees will be putting forward aggressive exploration programs,” he noted.
Furthermore, the President noted that the “Aphrodite”, Cyprus’ only proven discovery, constitutes a priority for the government, adding that the Ministry of Energy and the “Aphrodite” consortium are engaged in discussions to establish, the soonest and by mutual agreement, the field’s Development and Production Plan.
He added that the commercial discussions with potential buyers in Cyprus and Egypt for long-term gas contracts are in progress, having determined that commercially the most sustainable option is the regional direct pipeline to the Egyptian LNG facilities at Damietta and/or Idku.
“Certainly, it should be noted here that based on expected future discoveries, the Cypriot government is also considering several other monetization scenarios, including the Cyprus LNG Plant at the Vasilikos area,” he stressed.
President Anastasiades underlined that Cyprus traditionally holds high in its priorities for regionally policy the establishment of an environment of stability and mutually beneficial cooperation, noting that “to this end, we are convinced that economic partnerships can also enhance political trust, both essential prerequisites for successfully collaborating in the hydrocarbons sector.”
“As an EU member state that has always maintained excellent relations with all our neighbours – except for a specific country for which we are looking forward to see that we can build up similar bonds as those which we are sharing with the rest of our neighbours, we firmly believe that Cyprus is best suited to bridge our troubled region’s differences, thus ensuring that the significant quantities of natural gas discovered, as well as any future discoveries, can act as a catalyst in creating conditions for peace and stability,” he added.
Concluding, President Anastasiades expressed his “strong belief that through respect by everyone for international law and national sovereign rights, all the countries in our region and beyond, including Turkey, can benefit from cooperating and creating an environment of stability which will safeguard the multi-billion investments in the field of energy.”