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March 10, 2021

Israel and Cyprus agree to resolve dispute over Aphrodite gas field

Israel and Cyprus have reportedly agreed on a framework to settle the dispute over the development of the Aphrodite gas field in Cypriot waters.

By Umesh Ellichipuram

Israel and Cyprus have reportedly agreed on a framework to settle the dispute over the development of the Aphrodite gas field in Cypriot waters.

The Aphrodite gas field is located within Block 12 of the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, approximately 160km south of Limassol.

The move marks a step ahead in resolving a nine-year impasse over the field, which was discovered in 2011.

The development of the deepwater field, which is estimated to hold up to 4.5 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves, was stalled as a small position of it stretches into Israel’s maritime zone.

Cypriot energy minister Natasa Pilides has finalised a framework with her Israeli counterpart Yuval Steinitz to resolve the dispute while the guidelines are planned to be issued to the companies involved in the project.

Pilides was quoted by Reuters as saying: “The framework will be set out in a joint letter, which is being prepared. We are both very satisfied we are now at this point after nine years of discussion.”

In November 2019, Cyprus granted exploitation licence to the Aphrodite gas field development partners for a period of 25 years.

US-based Noble Energy operates the field with a 35% stake while the other partners include Israel-based Delek Drilling (30%) and the Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell (35%).

Since a part of the Aphrodite field stretches to the Israeli side, the Israeli Government had maintained to require an agreement prior to commencing work at the project.

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