Cyprus, Egypt push on with natural gas deal
Cyprus and Egypt have said that they are proceeding with a natural gas deal providing for the purchase of a yet unspecified volume of Cypriot gas by Egypt.
Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said that feasibility studies have been completed and experts are working now on the cost of seven alternative options to transfer the gas.
“The cost of each one depends on the size of the pipe which will be chosen,” Lakkotrypis told the Cypriot state radio.
He added that the next stage in the deal will be the conclusion of commercial agreements.
The plans provide for sending natural gas from the Cypriot Aphrodite field to the Egyptian liquefaction terminal at Idku operated by the British BG Group, partly using existing gas pipes from depleted Egyptian offshore gas fields.
The Aphrodite field contains 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and Egypt said it is willing to buy as much gas as could be made available.
The plans are unaffected by the discovery of a giga gas field in the Egyptian continental shelf, not very far from Cypriot gas plots. The Zohr discovery contains an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Cypriot minister was commenting on statements by Egypt’s Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail who was quoted by the Egypt Daily News as saying that imports of Cypriot gas will start after 2017.
Ismail said economic studies for the project are currently under way.
President Nicos Anastasiades is scheduled to meet later in the day with Italy’s ENI CEO Claudio Descalzi to discuss the outlook of the company’s exploration program in the eastern Mediterranean island’s offshore exclusive economic zone.
Cyprus News Agency quoted reliable sources as saying that Descalzi will reaffirm ENI’s commitment in its exploration program.
Cyprus has granted the company a two-year extension in three blocks of its exclusive economic zone after it failed to find gas in two drillings, done in association with the South Korean KOGAS company.