Plans to be part of a regional grouping of countries to develop energy in the Mediterranean have soured on Cyprus’ intention to go ahead with its Aphrodite field on waters touching Israel’s maritime borders.
Cyprus and California-based Chevron said they were moving forward despite a decade-long dispute between Cyprus and Israel over energy development in the Seas region, Kathimerini said.
Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides and a Chevron official met with Speaker of the House Annita Demetriou, who was briefed on development work at Aphrodite, a reservoir about 100 miles south of Limassol which extends to the adjacent Israeli Yishai field, the newspaper said.
Cyprus granted exploitation rights for the Aphrodite field in November 2019, but Israel’s Energy Ministry has warned against further gas development ‘until a settlement agreement is reached. between the two countries.
Cyprus essentially ignored this and Pilides in 2021 said she and her then-Israeli counterpart, Yuval Steinitz, had agreed on a framework for the companies involved to resolve outstanding issues regarding the regulation of rights to the reservoirs of Aphrodite and Yishai.
But this year Israel’s current energy minister, Karine Elharrar, took a different approach and told Cypriot companies to settle the dispute and warn of the consequences if not.
After Pilides told the Bloomberg news agency that “a realistic production date” would be included in a Chevron presentation before the end of the year, Israeli media said Elharrar was not happy about it. .
According to the Cypriot Reporter website, which picked up an article published by the Jewish newspaper Haaretz’s economic bulletin, The Marker, unnamed government sources said that Israeli officials were annoyed by the Chevron and Cyprus announcement.
The publication cites ongoing discussions between Pilides and Elharrar, indicating that negotiations based on a recently agreed framework have not been completed, but no further details were given.
Chevron, which bought stakes in Aphrodite from Noble Energy, said it was acting in coordination with the Cypriot government and the company’s legal obligation to proceed.
It is expected to present its development plan for Aphrodite, located in Block 12 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by the end of the year, with a production date set for 2027 although Turkey, which not recognize parts of the maritime borders of Cyprus, also explored energy.