Cyprus Responds to Chevron's Request for Aphrodite Gas Field Development Extension

(Reuters) — Cyprus has responded to a request from international energy companies led by Chevron for an extension in talks over a modified development plan for its Aphrodite offshore gas field, its energy minister said on Monday.

Talks to bridge a rift over pared-back plans for the 3.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) field south-east of Cyprus went down to the wire, with Cypriot authorities responding to Chevron very late on Sunday, when negotiations were due to expire.

"We responded to a letter by the company seeking an extension which we received last week. Until we receive an answer from the company we see no value in making any statement," Energy Minister George Papanastasiou said.

Development of the field had been the subject of dispute, after the consortium submitted a modified plan this year which Cyprus considered went back on a 2019 field development plan agreed by all sides.

The modifications removed a floating processing unit (FPU) and cut the number of production wells to three from an initial five. The initial plan had been prepared by Noble, an independent operator which Chevron acquired in October 2020, when estimated reserves were in the region of 4.5 Tcf.

An updated assessment following a new appraisal well this year lowered the estimates to around 3.5 Tcf.

Nicosia considers the FPU essential in extending the lifespan of the field, while Chevron, backed by the U.S. administration, considers the modified plan will help get gas to the market faster and does not involve building costly large infrastructure.

Chevron is a partner in the field with Israel's NewMed and Shell.

The overall objective of the project, which remains unchanged, is to connect Aphrodite via a subsea pipeline to Egypt, where the gas can be sold in the domestic market or liquefied and shipped to Europe, which has been largely cut off from Russian supplies.

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