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Cyprus could process Israeli gas

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Cyprus is weighing a proposal for a gas pipeline from Israel to the island, where it would be processed and exported by ship to Europe as Russia’s war in Ukraine compounds an energy crisis, Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said.

Pilides said the government is mulling licensing requests from energy company Energean to move ahead with the plan once Israel decides how much offshore gas it would agree to export via such a pipeline.

She said the plan to liquefy and ship the gas from Cyprus is better than a pipeline connecting east Mediterranean gas deposits to Europe.

“It’s lower cost, more technically feasible and provides a lot of flexibility in terms of the export routes via vessels,” Pilides told The Associated Press.

“And also, it’s a good opportunity for us to have infrastructure that is close to home, so … if we want to utilise it for our own sources as well, then it will be an additional option.

“It’s certainly worth discussing with our licensees.”

Cyprus is also looking to export its gas.

Pilides says a conservative estimate of the amount already discovered inside Cyprus’ offshore economic zone is 12-15 trillion cubic feet.

Companies, including ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Energy, and a consortium made up of France’s Total and Italy’s Eni, currently hold exploration licenses for more than half of the 13 blocks that make up Cyprus’ zone.

Plans to develop Cyprus’ Aphrodite field, estimated to hold approximately 4.25 trillion cubic feet of gas, are already in advanced stages.

Chevron

Chevron and partners Dutch Shell and Israeli NewMed are set to submit a development plan for Aphrodite by the end of the year, with gas expected to reach markets by 2027.

Pilides said Chevron is “definitely” looking to pipe the Aphrodite gas to existing Egyptian processing plants to meet that timeline.

The company is considering several scenarios for constructing smaller pipelines that would feed into existing ones to get the gas to Egypt.

Pilides said Chevron’s development plan needs to ensure the new pipelines offer Cyprus “enough availability for the export of our own gas” as sustainably as possible.

For ExxonMobil and the Eni-Total consortium, the amount discovered in the blocks to which they hold licenses will determine which option is best to get the gas to market and supply some of that for Cyprus’ energy needs.

The minister said Eni/Total is expected to announce plans in the next few days that would allow them to speed up the exploration and development of block 6.

There’s enough natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean area for export until at least 2050, according to analyses by the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, a body composed of eight countries, including Greece, Italy, Egypt, Cyprus, Israel, France, Jordan, and Palestine.

Cyprus is speeding up its transition to green energy with several projects, including constructing an electric power cable connecting Israel, Cyprus and Greece that Pilides said would help prevent blackouts.

Key hurdles Cyprus needs to overcome if it wants to export excess energy are to expand its electric storage facilities and to harness new technology to address its limited space for installing solar farms.

One such solution is floating solar panels, said Pilides. (source AP)