Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Israeli energy company to accelerate development of Cypriot natural gas field

Israel's Delek energy group which owns one third of a Cypriot offshore natural gas field is working on plans to accelerate its development, a group official said on Tuesday.

Delek CEO Yaniv Friedman said after meeting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that his company is committed to the cooperation between Cyprus and Israel and in developing a natural gas reserve known as Aphrodite.

"We would like to accelerate this and move this project forward as soon as possible," said Friedman.

Friedman said Delek is also moving forward with plans to develop the Leviathan reservoir, one of the largest offshore gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean basin.

He added that he looks forward to closely cooperating with Cyprus in the development of both fields which were tapped in neighboring blocks belonging to Israel and Cyprus.

Israel's interests lies in building a gas pipe to Turkey, which has to go through the Cypriot continental shelf.

The prospect of providing gas to Turkey through a pipe and possibly from there to Europe was one of the motives that led Israel to mend its relations with Ankara which had collapsed following the Mavi Marvmara incident in 2012.

But to build a pipe also requires a solution of the long standing problem of reunifying Cyprus, which was partitioned after Turkish troops occupied its northern part in reaction to a coup engineered by the military rulers of Greece at the time.

  • A Cypriot government spokesman said on Tuesday that such a project is unthinkable without a prior solution to the Cyprus problem.

A solution of the problem would also promote Turkey's negotiations to join the European Union, which have been held up because of objections by Cyprus.

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