NICOSIA – An international team of companies, including Israel’s NewMed, has begun exploratory drilling in Cyprus’ offshore Aphrodite gas field, with Turkey contesting parts of the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and conducting energy research.
NewMed owns a 30% stake in the field, where a consortium that includes US energy giant Chevron and the UK-based Shell Oil has been licensed by the Greek-Cypriot government, a member of the European Union.
According to The Times of Israel, the field holds an estimated 124 billion cubic meters of gas. The three companies are hopeful for a lucrative discovery, as the field is situated approximately 18 miles northwest of Israel’s Leviathan gas reservoir.
The Aphrodite field was discovered in 2011, and NewMed Energy CEO Yossi Abu stated, “The global demand for natural gas is increasing, and a large reservoir like Aphrodite could help meet the demand.”
“Alongside the advancement of phase two of the Leviathan reservoir, which satisfies the needs of the local and regional economy, we are making significant progress in the development of the Aphrodite reservoir,” he added.
In September, the partners in the gas field approved a budget of approximately $192 million to implement the drilling and perform pre-feed engineering work necessary for the gas field’s development, as reported by the newspaper. The total cost is projected to be $3.6 billion.
The partners intend to supply natural gas from the Aphrodite field to the domestic market in Cyprus and export natural gas via pipeline to other markets, including the Egyptian market and the global LNG market.