The natural gas revolution in Cyprus
The Aphrodite natural gas field, located in the Cypriot 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 cash flow 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 120-129 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 exploratory well, which began on 20 September 2011, continued for 116 days, and reached a depth of 5,860 meters below sea level.
The field 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.
The development plan for the gas field is not as yet final (as of March 2016), 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 in 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 recently signed an energy cooperation agreement with the Egyptian government that will also examine the option of exporting gas from Aphrodite to the domestic Egyptian market and to the liquefaction facilities of private companies on Egyptian soil.
In November 2015, the international energy firm British Gas announced that it had acquired 35% of the Aphrodite reservoir from Noble Energy, such that the current partners in the reservoir are: Delek Drilling (15%), Avner Oil Exploration (15%), Noble Energy (35%) and British Gas (35%), subject to the approval of the closing conditions in the Noble Energy-British Gas agreement and the approval of the Government of Cyprus.
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