The European Union’s drive to slash reliance on Russian natural gas is boosting the strategic importance of finds in Cyprus, which could start producing by 2027, the energy minister said.
“Europe is a good potential customer for Cypriot gas as the EU has confirmed that natural gas will remain a bridge fuel up to 2049 as part of the green transition, so companies now have the comfort of being able to secure long-term contracts,” Natasa Pilides told Bloomberg.
There is also “the EU’s intention to move away from Russia regardless of when the war in Ukraine finishes”.
Chevron, along with partners Shell and Israel’s Newmed Energy, owns drilling rights in the Aphrodite offshore field and plans to drill a new well in early 2023.
Aphrodite, first discovered in 2011, is estimated to hold 4.4 trillion cubic feet (125 billion cubic meters) of still untapped gas and lies near the Leviathan field off the coast of Israel that Chevron and NewMed jointly operate.
Chevron will present its final development plan for Aphrodite in block 12 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone by the end of this year, with 2027 “a realistic date for production,” Pilides said.
Options include linking Aphrodite to existing regional infrastructure or connecting the field to Egypt’s Ikdu liquefied natural gas terminal.
Gas exploration is continuing in other Cypriot offshore blocks, with results of appraisal drilling in block 6 by a consortium of TotalEnergies and ENI expected as soon as next month.
A venture of ExxonMobil and Qatar Energy is beginning seismic surveys in blocks 5 and 10 that will be completed early in the autumn, Pilides said.
Cyprus doesn’t need much natural gas for domestic purposes, leaving more for export.
In addition to Europe, Asia is also a potential customer for the gas, Pilides said.
Cyprus is also positive about Greek energy firm Energean’s plan to build an approximately 200-kilometre pipeline from its offshore field in Israel to Vasilikos on the island’s south coast.
Under the proposal, the pipeline would be connected to a floating LNG vessel, with exports seen at about 3.5 billion cubic meters a year.
While clarification is still needed on how much the pipeline will carry, it provides an opportunity to supply gas to Cyprus and to connect Cypriot gas finds, she said.
“We’re hopeful the 2026 timeframe will be adhered to.” (source Bloomberg)