Cyprus’ Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Natasa Pilides said on Thursday she expects developments soon regarding the utilization of Cypriot natural gas fields, given the large increase in natural gas prices internationally.
In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, the minister noted that Cyprus could play a role in Europe’s energy supply either through its own gas reserves or through electricity interconnection projects that aim to connect Cyprus with Europe.
Asked whether developments in Ukraine could accelerate the development of Cyprus’ confirmed gas deposits, Pilides pointed out that the government is definitely encouraging the involved companies to move in that direction.
“We expect the Chevron consortium to come up with specific suggestions regarding the Aphrodite deposit. We hope that the right synergies can be established in relation to either Israel or Egypt in order to achieve a more optimistic timetable, given the current opportunities,” she noted, adding that they expect to see developments with regard to Aphrodite between the end of March and the beginning of April.
Pilides also stressed that Cyprus is in consultations with the European Union and supports the position that it can play a role in the EU’s energy supply.
She added that at the moment gas quantities are very limited but other research activities are also expected soon. As she said, by the end of March, the ExxonMobil-Qatar Energy consortium will complete the appraisal drilling in Cyprus’ Block 10 – which is estimated to carry a reservoir between 5 and 8 trillion cubic feet. Officials are eagerly awaiting the drilling results.
At the same time, she noted that the Eni-Total consortium will proceed with drilling within the year, while ExxonMobil will begin seismic research on Block 5 to see if there is an interconnection with Block 10 and if there are prospects in that area.
Asked whether she was concerned about the recent Turkey-Israel meeting and if she thought it would deprive Cyprus of some opportunities in the energy sector, the minister pointed out that Cyprus’ cooperation with Israel is excellent in various aspects of energy.
“Our plans are not being thwarted,” she said, adding she would meet her Israeli counterpart on April 11 when she visits the country to continue discussions they had in Egypt.