Cyprus: Oil & gas companies have assured plans on track

Oil and gas companies have assured the government they remain committed to their projects in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and will stick to schedules revised due to the coronavirus situation, the energy minister said on Tuesday.

“We have been in touch with all companies engaged in our EEZ… they anticipate that the delays owing to the coronavirus will not be repeated and that their programme will continue normally, under the timetables agreed,” Natasa Pilides told MPs.

Whereas energy companies have had to discontinue several projects across the world, thankfully Cyprus is not among these, she added.

Sometime in the coming weeks the government will hold a conference call with all the companies concerned.

As an example of the projects that remain on track – though delayed – Pilides cited the A3 drill planned by the licence holders of the Aphrodite reservoir.

She said that under the latest timetable given, the A3 undertaking would be taking place in late 2021, early 2022 at the latest.

A3 stands for the second appraisal drill for the Aphrodite play. The A2 drill (first appraisal) had taken place in 2013. The initial (exploratory) drill carried out in 2011 was dubbed A1.

Discovered in late 2011, the Aphrodite play holds an estimated 4.1 trillion cubic feet of gas. The concession is jointly owned by Noble Energy (35 per cent), Shell (35 per cent) and Delek Drilling (30 per cent).

In November 2019, the Cyprus government granted the Noble-Shell-Delek consortium an exploitation licence for the Aphrodite gas field. The companies intended to pipe the gas to neighbouring Egypt.

According to daily Politis, at the time the consortium’s envisioned timetable went as follows: a second appraisal drilling (A3) at the reservoir by late November 2021; the carrying out of the Front End Engineering Design by end of 2021; a final investment decision within 2022; followed by a Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement; and the commencement of building a pipeline and other infrastructures to export the gas inside 2023, with an estimate time of completion and beginning of sales sometime in 2025.