By George Pirishis

It seems that something has started to shift in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in relation to the Aphrodite block.

In last week’s meeting between the Ministry of Energy and representatives of the American company Chevron, the latter showed that Chevron’s interest in the commercial exploitation of the natural gas of Aphrodite remains alive.

According to sources, in last Thursday’s meeting, the representatives of the American company presented some options they have in mind regarding the commercial development of the gas field. These are mainly focused on two options.

One is the creation of a pipeline in the direction of Egypt so that Cypriot gas ends up on the Egyptian coast, where, as we know, there are already two terminals in Idku and Damietta.

The other option is to create a pipeline from the Israeli EEZ, where it will join the Aphrodite block, and from there it will be transported to Egypt.

Sources have told the newspaper that the company seems to be oriented towards the first option, however, as the same sources indicated, the second option is also being considered since it is quite consistent with the proposal presented by the Greek company Energean a few weeks ago.

The idea, presented in a meeting between the ministers of Greece, Cyprus and Israel, involves the transfer of natural gas from the Karish block of the Israeli EEZ to Egypt using Cyprus as a hub.

However, Energean’s proposal, the sources noted, needs to be formalised, since nothing official is on the table from the Greek company’s side, despite its intriguing proposal.

As explained to Chevron’s representatives, from the side of the Ministry of Energy, the deadlock that has been observed for some time now regarding the Aphrodite gas field cannot continue, something that seems to be now understood by the American company’s representatives.

“We explained that they should speed up the procedures, because we need to know the plans as well, so that we can develop a plan for our next steps,” a competent source indicated to the newspaper.

Simultaneously, we have been informed that meetings between the involved parties are expected to intensify, with the ultimate aim of clarifying these important issues which remain pending.

The natural gas in the Aphrodite block has a total quantity of about 4.5 tcf but it has remained untapped for more than a decade, primarily due to the fluctuations of energy prices in international markets and the reluctance shown by the relevant companies regarding its commercial exploitation.