By Stelios Orphanides
A memorandum of understanding signed by Cyprus and Egypt in Cairo yesterday may pave the way for exports of natural gas produced in Aphrodite field to the Egyptian liquefaction plants, energy minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said.
The MoU, signed by Lakkotrypis and Egyptian minister of oil and mineral resources Sherif Ismail, will allow the sale and transport of natural gas from Cyprus’s first hydrocarbon finding in its exclusive economic zone to Egypt’s underutilised liquefaction plants in Idku and Damietta via pipeline, the minister said while commenting in an interview to state radio CyBC today.
“It will depend on whether there will be an agreement on commercial terms in detail,” he said. “We are talking about long-term agreements worth many billion” euros, he added.
The agreement, the energy minister said, will allow Cyprus to sell its gas to any solvent customer offering the most favourable terms.
“It will all depend on how solvent our potential customer is” as the financing of the pertinent infrastructure will depend on it, he said.
Lakkotrypis said that within the next weeks, the government is expecting “other developments” including the submission of the development plan by the consortium which has the exploitation rights of the Aphrodite reserve, led by the Houston-based Noble Energy Inc.
This “will indicate the timetables and the technical solution that will be selected,” he said adding that Cyprus may expect to receive its first supplies of natural gas from Aphrodite between 2018 and 2020.
Energy prices fell in the past eight months making costly investment in new energy projects less profitable. The value of Noble Energy at the New York Exchange fell more than 27 per cent in the last six months to $50.80 (44.55 euros), according to data compiled by the Bank of Cyprus.