Search for common ground on Aphrodite

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Developments are expected in the coming days for a win-win outcome in discussions with US oil major Chevron over the dispute about exploiting the Aphrodite gas field, said Energy Minister George Papanastasiou.

Nicosia granted an extension request by Chevron, with the deadline for a response ending on Monday.

Noting that the company has made some comments, Papanastasiou said November 20 is the deadline for the company to respond.

Papanastasiou said there had been consultations during the last 15 days without further elaboration.

He said these discussions should not be considered as “ultimatums.”

“There is a consultation which should assess what the Republic of Cyprus pursues and what the consortium pursues, and essentially, the two parties are trying to find common ground, which would be a win-win situation”.

Papanastasiou refrained from elaborating on what the next steps are in this dispute.

The Aphrodite consortium, with Chevron as the operator, along with Shell and Israel’s Newmed Energy, had submitted for approval an updated development plan for the gas, which provides for the connection of the field to liquefaction infrastructure in Egypt via a subsea pipeline.

Talks to bridge a rift over pared-back plans for the estimated 3.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) field south-east of Cyprus went down to the wire.

The government rejected the updated plan at the end of August, with the contract providing 30 days of negotiation to resolve the dispute.

The negotiation period was extended for another 30 days with a deadline of November 5, while a new extension has been granted to try and break the deadlock.

Chevron’s revised plan removed the FPU and cut the number of production wells to three from an initial five.

The initial plan had been prepared by Noble, an independent operator Chevron acquired in October 2020, when estimated reserves were in the region of 4.5 tcf.

An updated assessment following a new appraisal well this year lowered the estimates to around 3.5 tcf.

The Aphrodite gas field was scheduled for full development by 2026-2027.