Cyprus has signed an intergovernmental agreement with Egypt for the construction of a subsea natural gas pipeline which will carry gas from Cyprus’ Aphrodite offshore field to Egypt and then to the EU.
The agreement was signed by the Cypriot Minister of Energy Yiorgos Lakkotrypis and Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla.
The signing ceremony was also attended by the Head of the International Relations and Enlargement Unit of the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission Anne-Charlotte Bournoville and the representatives of Noble Energy, Shell, and Delek, the consortium behind the Aphrodite natural gas field.
Aphrodite is a gas discovery made by Noble energy offshore Cyprus in 2011. The field, located approximately 170 kilometers south of Limassol, was declared commercial in 2o15, however, it has yet to be developed.
Commenting on the signing of the deal, Minister Lakkotrypis said: “Today’s signing […] constitutes another crucial step towards its goal to efficiently exploit the underwater wealth in its EEZ, and specifically gas from Aphrodite for the benefit of all Cypriots. In addition, it reinforces the joint efforts by the countries in the Eastern Mediterranean to establish the synergies required for attracting the multi-billion infrastructure investments for hydrocarbons production and transport,” said.
Gas to be converted to LNG
The agreement is the first of its kind in the region and, according to the Cypriot minister, establishes a formal strategic partnership in the energy sector between the two nations.
It is also worth noting that the agreement and the planned pipeline have the full support and backing of the EU. The pipeline is intended to transport Cypriot natural gas to Egypt for reexport to Europe in the form of liquified natural gas (LNG).
Lakkotrypis said that a joint monitoring committee would be established within the next 30 days, consisting of representatives from the energy ministries and regulatory authorities of the two countries.
“Once build, we are confident that the direct submarine natural gas pipeline crossing the Cypriot and Egyptian EEZs, will be beneficial to all parties involved. Ultimately, through reexports of Aphrodite gas in the form of LNG, the pipeline will allow for the transport of the first molecules of East Med gas to the EU, thus contributing to the Union’s much sought-after security of supply and diversification of sources and routes,” the minister added.