Israel, Cyprus Make Progress in Resolving Gas Field Dispute
Israel and Cyprus have agreed a framework deal to resolve a long-standing maritime dispute that has held back development at the Aphrodite gas field, the countries' energy ministers said on March 9.
Cypriot energy minister Natasa Pilides said on social media she had agreed on the framework with her Israeli counterpart Yuval Steinitz to resolve the issues, noting that the companies involved in the gas project would be provided with guidelines. Cyprus' government reached a 25-year production-sharing agreement (PSA) with Shell, Delek and Noble Energy, now owned by Chevron, in mid-2019. The 116-bn m3 field is tentatively scheduled to produce its first gas in 2025.
Aphrodite borders the Israeli-issued Yishai licence, however. Israel claims that around 10% of Aphrodite's resources are situated in its exclusive economic zone, and has said an agreement between the two countries is needed before the field's development can begin. The Yishai operators include Israel Opportunity Energy Resources, Nammax Oil and Gas, Eden Energy Discoveries and AGR Petroleum Services Holdings.
"The framework will be set out in a joint letter which is being prepared," Pilides said in a statement shared on social media. "We are both very satisfied we are now at this point after nine years of discussion."
"Thanks to the relationship of trust created between the governments of Israel and Cyprus, we have reached an agreement that will bring us closer after more than 10 years to resolving the dispute over the Aphrodite-Yishai natural gas reservoir," Steinitz added.