Govt, Chevron resolve Aphrodite standoff

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Energy Minister George Papanastasiou has confirmed the successful conclusion of negotiations between the Cyprus government and Chevron, the U.S. energy company, regarding the development of the Aphrodite offshore natural gas field.

The understanding marks the end of prolonged negotiations that have hindered the gas field’s development for years.

In statements to CyBC TV on Friday, Papanastasiou explained that the understanding was derived from a letter submitted by Chevron, capturing the firm’s “positive stance”.

Chevron was expected to respond to the government’s rejection of its proposal to modify the development plan for the Aphrodite offshore gas field, estimated to contain 4.2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas.

Papanastasiou noted that the response satisfies both parties, though he refrained from disclosing the specific content of the letter.

Days or weeks

He acknowledged that it may take days or even weeks to finalise the details.

Despite the ongoing discussions, the minister reiterated the government’s commitment to extracting natural gas from the Aphrodite gas field by the end of 2027.

The breakthrough in negotiations that had reached a stalemate was initially reported by the Associated Press earlier in the day.

According to a report from Philenews, Chevron has accepted the use of the Floating Production Unit (FPU) for the exploitation of the Aphrodite gas field, with the possibility of extending its utilisation to other fields in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Chevron, as the operator of Aphrodite, engaged in discussions with the Cypriot government after the rejection of the modified development plan earlier this year.

The field’s development became contentious when the Chevron-led consortium submitted a revised plan to send the gas to Egypt through a pipeline that Cyprus argued deviated from a 2019 agreement reached by all parties.

The initial plan, submitted by Noble Energy and later acquired by Chevron in October 2020, included the construction of a floating production unit (FPU) for natural gas production. Cyprus objected to the consortium’s new plans, citing the removal of the FPU, which would enhance gas recovery and maximize revenues.