Cypriot Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis has said that he expects, this week, some news in relation to the renewal of Total’s contract for Block 11 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). He also said that the entry of BG company as a shareholder in Block 12 may accelerate and improve the development of Aphrodite gas field.
In an interview with CNA, Lakkotrypis said that there are many developments running in parallel in the energy sector. Asked about Total energy group and its commitment to Cyprus’ EEZ, he said that he hopes that there will be some news this week.
“I hope that we will have some news this week. We are now waiting for the company to notify us officially whether it will renew its contract for Block 11, the first period of which expires in February 2016,” he said.
He added that company officials, both in their visits to Cyprus and during their meetings with the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, have expressed their interest in more blocks within the EEZ of Cyprus. There is also interest, he said, from other companies that operate in Cyprus’ EEZ or have bought the country’s geological data during the two licensing rounds for exploration rights in 2007 and 2012. Cyprus’ government has issued exploration licences for blocks 12 (Noble Energy), 10 and 11 (Total) and 2, 3 and 9 (ENI-KOGAS).
BG entry in Block 12 may accelerate the development of the Aphrodite field
Referring to the importance of the entry of BG company as a shareholder in Block 12, Lakkotrypis said that this means that a potential buyer, who manages and owns one of the liquefaction terminals in Egypt, is now involved in the development of Aphrodite gas field. This, according to the Minister, will probably lead to improvements in the development plan of Aphrodite.
“Based on the development and production plan filed by the Noble-Delek consortium for Aphrodite a few months ago, the first production is expected in 2020,” he said. He added, however, that BG is now expected to examine the development plan to see if it can bring any improvement that will allow the extraction of gas more quickly and more cheaply.
What is now under negotiation, said the Energy Minister, are the trade agreements between the partners in Block 12 – the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company and the potential buyers in the Egyptian market. The Minister stressed the importance placed on natural gas by the Egyptians during their visit to the island a few weeks ago, in which it was stated that their needs in natural gas are very high – despite the discovery of Zohr field in Egypt`s EEZ – and that the country is still interested in Cyprus’ deposits both for exports through their liquefaction plants and for their internal consumption.
Lakkotrypis refers to potential buyers of Cyprus gas
“There are potential buyers. One is EGAS for Egypt’s internal consumption and the other is BG or Union Fenosa that manage the other exports terminal,” he said.
Lakkotrypis also referred to the reassessment of the potential of Cyprus’ EEZ by the French consultants of the Government, in light of the new model formed after the discovery of Zohr field. The final results, he added, are expected in a few weeks.
Energy and tourism in light of the new developments in the area
“The cooperation between Cyprus and Israel continues, deepens, is a strategic relationship,” said the Energy Minister, adding that “it is certainly not affected by the relations of other countries.” He was invited to comment on the latest developments in the relations between Turkey and Russia and whether this will push Turkey to turn to Israel for its energy needs.
“The interest of the Turkish companies in Israel’s gas market is not something new. We have seen it unfold in the past,” he said, adding that they will wait to see whether this crisis in Turkey-Russia relations would be extended to their energy relations.