Egypt, Cyprus Sign Natural Gas Agreement

Egypt has signed a deal with Cyprus that paves the way for further negotiations on a construction of a submarine pipeline, through which the Mediterranean island would export natural gas from its offshore field Aphrodite to the North African nation, reported Egypt Oil&Gas citing an Oil Ministry’s press release.

Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum, Tarek El Molla, and Cyprus’s Energy Minister, Georgios Lakkotrypis, stated that the pipeline is preliminary scheduled to be operational from 2020 to 2022, Middle East Online reported. The agreement would allow Egypt to use imported gas for domestic consumption or to re-exported it after liquefaction. Egypt currently has two liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in both Edco and Damietta that are being underutilized and can be used to export Cypriot gas to foreign markets, wrote Daily News Egypt.

The two governments will now speedily proceed with discussions on an intergovernmental agreement for the pipeline. The Egyptian minister added that this agreement will help in covering country’s market demands and will support explorations in Cypriot Aphrodite field.

El Molla also noted that the agreement comes as a part of supporting the mutual cooperation in oil and gas field that would contribute to setting an operational framework for hydrocarbons in the east Mediterranean.

The ministry further informed that Minister El Molla met with Cypriot President, Nicos Anastasiades, and Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kasoulides, to discuss other areas of potential bilateral economic and commercial relations.

In regards to Cyprus’s gas exploration activities, since its first offshore gas find in 2011, Cyprus has held a series of exploration licensing rounds hoping to discover new reserves. In the latest round, US giant ExxonMobil with Qatar Petroleum are among eight major energy players bidding to explore offshore for Cyprus oil and gas.

Furthermore, energy companies from Italy, France, Norway, the US, Israel, Britain, and Qatar are among those bidding for Cyprus’s drilling rights at three blocks that were recently made available close to Italy’s Eni discovery of Zohr field.