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שר האנרגיה הקפריסאי שביקר השבוע בישראל חושף לתקשורת כי קפריסין ויוון מוותרות על התכנית לצינור גז לאיטליה
12/06/2012 20:41

לדבריו קפריסין תקבל מישראל את הגז שלה שיהפוך לחשמל בישראל וייוצא לקפריסין ויוון




Cyprus decides for LNG option
By Robert M Cutler*

MONTREAL - Cyprus, which is becoming a major exploiter of recently discovered gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean, is to build an US$8 billion gas liquefaction terminal for export of natural gas found offshore, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Neoclis Sylikiotis told the Cyprus Natural Gas Conference in Nicosia last week.

Representatives of Deutsche Bank and Credit Agricole have expressed a "preliminary interest" in investing in the project, which would be completed towards the end of this decade, said Sylikiotis, according to the Cyprus Mail.

At issue is the fate of the gas in Block 12 of Cyprus' offshore sector south of the island in the East Mediterranean, the so-called "Aphrodite" strike made by the US-based Noble Energy late last year. Noble announced that it had discovered between 180 and

285 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas. Cyprus will soon create a state hydrocarbons corporation and appoint a permanent team for the necessary industrial negotiations with Noble Energy.

US-based Noble Energy is the lead company and operator for both the Cypriot and Israeli consortia that have made separate strikes in the region. In December 2011, it announced that it has found probably between 180 and 285 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas in Block 12 of Cyprus's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) - the "Aphrodite" strike. This is reportedly to be enough to supply the island's domestic consumption for over two centuries.

Its other find, the "Leviathan" strike, is in Israel's EEZ, about 40 kilometers from the Aphrodite strike. The deposit is estimated to hold over 450 bcm of gas, possibly with another 250 bcm at a lower depth, plus 4.2 billion barrels of oil. Cyprus and Israel are at present negotiating a unitization agreement for developing the reserves and sharing their product.

A unitization agreement consolidates into a pool the participating interests in the consortia, allowing the development and operation of deposits divided by an international boundary and consequently distributed property rights to proceed in an integrated and efficient manner on the basis of the whole geophysical "unit" that it represents.

Sylikiotis said the proposed liquefaction terminal would be located onshore. He separately told the Associated Press that gas piped directly from the offshore deposits (including perhaps from the Leviathan strike) would also supply domestic Cypriot power plants.

An Israeli commission is deliberating over the extent of the government's involvement in the fields adjoining Aphrodite in Israel's own EEZ. It has made preliminary recommendations that Israel retain at least 400 bcm of its offshore natural gas for domestic use, according to Jerusalem Post.

Not all of that need come from Leviathan, given other gas fields in Israel's EEZ, most notably the Tamar and Dalit fields, of which the former alone (also operated by Noble Energy) is estimated to contain between 275 and 300 bcm, roughly half of which is already contractually committed to Israeli entities.

Among other possibilities for energy development, according to Greek-language Cypriot newspaper Fileleftheros, Sylikiotis supported laying a high-voltage undersea electrical cable (less expensive than a gas pipeline) from Cyprus to Greece, involving also the participation of Israel, all three of which countries would consume the electricity produced.

For Israel, such a solution would appear to be a more practical than transferring the gas onshore to generate its own electricity there. Israel has been exploring with the South Korean firm Daewoo the possibility of developing technology for a floating LNG terminal for the Tamar deposit, in order to avoid "not in my back yard" objections from residents near where an onshore station would have to be built.

Sylikiotis's statement to Fileleftheros leads to the conclusion that gas will not be transshipped onward to Italian markets via the as yet unbuilt Italy-Greece Interconnector (IGI) pipeline, which was lost out in the competition to be the western route for piping Caspian natural gas from Azerbaijan's offshore Shah Deniz Two field.

The IGI plan included the Poseidon pipeline from Greece to Italy underneath the Ionian Sea, where the Greek government has been seeking, so far unsuccessfully, to elicit interest in seabed exploration for offshore natural gas deposits. The IGI option for the joint Aphrodite and Leviathan strikes had been publicly entertained until now.

*Dr Robert M Cutler (http://www.robertcutler.org), educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The University of Michigan, has researched and taught at universities in the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, and Russia. Now senior research fellow in the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Carleton University, Canada, he also consults privately in a variety of fields.



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