The natural gas revolution in Cyprus
The Aphrodite natural gas field, located in exploratory Block 12 in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), is expected to do for Cyprus what the Yam Tethys and Tamar reservoirs did for Israel: provide energy independence, dramatically reduce air pollution, strengthen industry and employment, and generate a significant flow of cash to the state treasury – to mention only some of the expected benefits of development of the reservoir. Being the first gas discovery in the Cypriot EEZ, with about 129 BCM of natural gas, the reservoir is expected to be a significant economic growth engine for Cyprus.
The Aphrodite field is located 160 km south of Limassol, and 30 km northwest of the Leviathan field, in an area where the sea depth is about 1,700 meters. The field was discovered following drilling of the A-1 discovery well, which began on 20 September 2011, continued for 116 days, and reached a depth of 5,860 meters below sea level.
The field discovered covers an area of 120 square kilometers, and the maximum thickness of the reservoir is 320 meters. In 2013, the A-2 appraisal well findings enabled the expanse of the field and its characteristics to be determined with greater certainty.
In November 2015, the international energy company British Gas announced that it had acquired from Noble Energy 35% of the Aphrodite reservoir, so that today the partners in the reservoir are Delek Drilling (30%), Noble Energy (35%), and British Gas (35%).
It should be noted that in February 2016, Royal Dutch Shell completed its acquisition of British Gas (the BG Group).
The development plan for the gas field is not as yet final, but the most recent plan includes, in the first phase, five production wells with a high flow rate at a sea depth of 1,700 meters, which will reach different depths within the reservoir layers at an overall depth of approximately 5,000 meters.
The gas will make its way from the reservoir layer to the wellhead, and from the wellhead to the branching unit, which will also be located on the seabed about 3,000 meters above the reservoir. From the branching unit the gas will pass through a pipeline to a floating production facility to be located within the License area for processing, storage and unloading. From the production facility, the gas will be transported via pipelines to the various destination markets. The expected maximum capacity in the first production phase will be about 800 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD).
The Block 12 partners and the Cypriot government are considering options on how the natural gas may be supplied to the local market in Cyprus and exported through pipelines to other markets, including the Egyptian market.
As part of these efforts, the Cypriot government signed an energy cooperation agreement with the Egyptian government that will examine the option of exporting gas from Aphrodite to both the domestic Egyptian market and to the liquefaction facilities of private companies on Egyptian soil, including Shell which owns the Idku Natural Gas Liquefaction Company in Egypt.
For further reading: