Partners Submit Development Plan for Aphdrodite
The partners in Cyprus’ Aphrodite field, estimated at 4.54 Trillion Cubic Feet (Tcf) of natural gas, have submitted the development plan to the Cypriot government. Texan Noble Energy, which holds 70% of the shares in the field, and Avner Oil and Gas and Delek Drilling, holding a 15% stake each, plan to build an independent floating production installation in the Aphrodite field, which will have the capacity to produce up to 800 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. An undersea natural gas pipeline would then ship the gas from the Cypriot field to neighbouring Egypt.
Cyprus and Egypt have been engaged in talks for the purpose of closing a natural gas deal that would allow the Egyptian neighbour to purchase natural gas from Cyprus. The two countries have signed several cooperation agreements that involve strengthening ties in the fields of security and energy. Jordan could also potentially be a customer for Cypriot gas, the Kingdom suffering from severe energy shortages at home and being in desperate need to diversify its sources of supply to satisfy domestic demand, and to bring relief to a spiking energy bill. Like Israel, Jordan was historically dependent on Egypt for most of its domestic gas needs and has been forced to import expensive fuel products when attacks on the Arab Gas Pipeline in the aftermath of the Arab Spring caused disruptions in the flow of gas from Egypt.
As the Eastern Mediterranean countries undergo their transition from historically net importers of natural gas to potential exporters of the hydrocarbon, new alliances are forming and a new geopolitical landscape is taking shape. Talks to reunify the ethnically divided island of Cyprus are underway under the tutelage of the UN. Simultaneously, the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades is planning a trip to Israel in the days to come and energy will be high on its agenda.
Meanwhile, Lebanon is struggling to play catch up as the country has not yet succeeded in launching its first licensing round delayed by two pending decrees that would delineate the blocks open for bidding and determine a model sharing agreement. The new discoveries in the Levant basin are likely to have a major impact for the countries directly involved as they would ensure energy independence and energy security for decades to come. Whether the gas discovered will play a significant role on a global level is still questionable, as the East Med struggles with relatively modest quantities and complicated geopolitics.
Karen Ayat is an analyst and Associate Partner at Natural Gas Europe focused on energy geopolitics. Karen is also a co-founder of the Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI). She holds an LLM in Commercial Law from City University London and a Bachelor of Laws from Université Saint Joseph in Beirut. Email Karen firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on Twitter: @karenayat