Cyprus in Talks With Noble Over Plans to Develop Aphrodite Gas Field

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Drilling at the Leviathan natural gas field off the Mediterranean shore. Credit: Courtesy Albatross

Cyprus and Noble Energy, which is facing new antitrust scrutiny in Israel, are discussing the potential exploitation of a gas field discovered in 2011, the island’s energy minister said on Wednesday.

Yiorgos Lakkotrypis also said discussions had almost concluded with French company Total on modifying an existing exploration permit after initial results showed no tangible reserves in an area where it was licensed.

He said Cypriot authorities had started discussions with Noble over its plans to develop Aphrodite, a 4.54-trillion-cubic-feet gas reservoir.

“There are many steps which need to be taken, [but] it’s the start of a process towards exploitation of the reserve,” Lakkotrypis said.

Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration, both subsidiaries of Israel’s Delek Group, each owns 15% of Aphrodite. Texas-based Noble Energy controls the rest. Aphrodite is adjacent to the much larger Leviathan field in Israeli waters in which the three companies also hold a concession.

Total last week said it completed surveys of two Cypriot offshore blocks for which it had licenses, without finding potential drilling targets.

“An arrangement has been found with Total, and right now the legal documentation remains to be approved,” Lakkotrypis said. “If that yields results then [Total] will be with us at least until February 2016.”

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