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Updated "Aphrodite" gas field plan with FPU inclusion, Energy Minister says

The consortium licensed for Cyprus’ “Aphrodite” gas field will update the development and production plan of the field by 31 March, as announced by the Minister of Energy, Commerce, and Industry, George Papanastasiou.

He pointed out that a Floating Production Unit (FPU) above the gas field would be an essential plan of the new agreement.

Speaking before the Parliamentary Committee on Energy on 12 December, Papanastasiou revealed that recent discussions led to an arrangement, with the consortium.

"At this moment, the discussion revolves around the necessity of the Floating Production Unit (FPU), and considering the significant changes in the Eastern Mediterranean energy landscape since 2019, both geopolitically and in terms of energy, we thought it might be appropriate to accept an update of the specific plan," he said.

He clarified that the term "update" implies making the plan more functional within the current energy environment of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Aphrodite consortium comprises Chevron Corp with 35% (as the operator), BG Cyprus (Shell), and Newmed with 30%.

Papanastasiou expressed the belief that by 31 March, the consortium could bring an updated plan, including the FPU, based on the 2019 development plan. He said that the response from the consortium is now awaited.

The Minister reminded that the initial agreement in 2019 for the Aphrodite field was modified by the consortium on 31 May, 2023, excluding the floating unit above the field, opting for a 406-kilometer pipeline to transport gas to Shell's infrastructure in Egypt. The Republic of Cyprus rejected the revised plan. Papanastasiou emphasised the potential risks and uncertainties it posed to the economic and recovery aspects of natural gas quantities for Cyprus. Concerns included a potential reduction in gas flow and the risk of water entering the pipeline.

Regarding the consortium's request for a 31 March deadline, Papanastasiou said that any delay in the optimisation and service of the interests of the Republic of Cyprus would be insignificant.

On other fronts, the Minister highlighted positive developments in the southwestern cluster of Cypriot EEZ gas fields, including “Glafkos”, “Zeus”, and “Kronos” reserves. He mentioned ongoing progress with Kronos 2, expecting results by the end of January, suggesting it might evolve into a development field rather than merely confirmatory.

Regarding the arrival of natural gas in Cyprus, the Minister said that the terminal under construction in Vasilikos was expected to be completed by the end of July 2024. The floating unit, he added, has undergone sea and gas checks, and pending certification, it will be transported to Cyprus. The Minister said that the terminal and the floating unit were expected to be operational in the summer of 2024, with natural gas burning at the power station by late 2024 or early 2025.

(Source: CNA)

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