Nicosia, November 23, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
Noble Energy submitted on Monday a request to the Republic of Cyprus seeking the approval of the island`s government to include Britain`s BG Group in a consortium holding rights over a gas field of Cyprus` drilling block 12 in the eastern Mediterranean, Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis has said.
The Minister told the media that, according to Noble`s proposal, the company will remain the administrator over the offshore field, with it and BG Group holding 35 percent each and Israel`s Delek Group holding 30 percent.
Lakkotrrypis said that he informed President Nicos Anastasiades on today`s development, noting that the request will be submitted for approval before the Council of Ministers.
He stressed that this is a very significant development which shows the increased confidence in Cyprus` EEZ and its prospects, from a company with huge technical and commercial-economic potential.
Furthermore he recalled that BG Group is the administrator and the owner of the LNG terminal in Idku, Egypt, and underlined that “with this move, that was announced today in London and New York Stock Exchange markets, we make a step closer to “Aphrodite`s” exploitation.”
Invited to say how the Republic of Cyprus benefits from this development, Lakkotrypis said that “this is a commercial deal between companies”, adding that “this is very important for the Republic of Cyprus since it aligns the commercial interests of `Aphrodite` with our goal which is to channel natural gas to pipe natural gas to Egypt.”
Replying to another question, Lakkotrypis said that what is most important is the fact there will be a third partner that will financially contribute to the development of the “Aphrodite” gas field, estimated to require approximately 2-3 billion euros.
Asked about the development plan for “Aphrodite”, Lakkotrypis said that discussions are still underway and once the Council of Ministers approves the request, then probably BG will participate in the discussions and probably “there will be more ideas with a view to accelerate the process for the development of the `Aphrodite` field”.
Asked what the next step will be, Lakkotrypis said that the next step will be the commercial deals between the companies.
Invited to say on what criteria has ENI, which also has an LNG in Egypt, been excluded, Lakkotrypis said that no company has been excluded, adding that “discussions take place both with the two LNGs and for Egypt`s domestic market.”
Responding to another question, he said that President Anastasiades will have a meeting on Tuesday with Total`s Chairman.
As regards discussions with Israel, he said that “a process has been established with regard to these discussions and will continue tomorrow and the day after in Nicosia at the technical level. The two countries have exchanged geological data, which each side has examined, and tomorrow a technical discussion will take place on the basis of the agreed process,” he added.
Asked about the possibility of the gas pipelines to Europe to pass through Turkey, Lakkotrypis said that they have not looked into such a scenario.
“Such a scenario may exist for Israel, they may be looking into it, but the Republic of Cyprus`s direction is towards channeling the natural to Europe via the LNGs in Egypt,” he added, noting that today`s development is a step towards this direction.