Chevron and partners have signed up to develop the Aphrodite field, offshore Cyprus, with drilling due to start in the first half of 2023, while political talks are continuing.
NewMed Energy, which has a 30% stake in the block, said the partners had approved a budget of $130 million to drill the A-3 well. They will also provide another $62mn for a pre front-end engineering and design (pre-FEED) study.
Chevron and Shell each have a 35% stake in Block 12, home of Aphrodite.
They have signed up the Stena Forth to drill the A-3 well, which will start in the first half of next year.
The well will provide more information on the reservoir, which the partners currently think holds 124 billion cubic metres of gas. Drilling will focus on the Oligo-Miocene sand layers. The well will also act as a producer when the reservoir is developed.
Israeli Minister of Energy Karine Elharrar visited Cyprus on September 19, to hold talks with her opposite number Natasa Pileidou. The two discussed the Aphrodite and Ishai fields.
Israel has claimed that Aphrodite’s reservoirs run over the maritime border, into Ishai.
A statement from Cyprus said the two were working to achieve a “fair and speedy resolution” of the dispute. They have established working groups and set out a road map for negotiations.
Elharrar said it was “our best interests” for both sides to work towards a swift settlement, citing the European energy crisis. “The trust between us and the continuation of our fruitful co-operation in the various fields is very important for both parties.”
Pileidou said the two states had a “common vision of fully exploiting” the East Mediterranean’s gas reserves. They had made “significant progress” in a “mutually beneficial settlement” of the issues.
NewMed CEO Yossi Abu also noted the importance of local and international markets.
“Alongside the intense activity to expand the production from the Leviathan reservoir, which provides for the needs of the domestic and regional markets, we are promoting the development of the Aphrodite reservoir, another large reservoir, to assist in supplying the increasing global demand for natural gas,” he said.
The partners are considering how to produce from the Aphrodite field. Options include integration with already existing facilities and cross-border ties into Egypt.
The Cyprus Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry, in a joint statement with Chevron in July, said it would provide a development concept by the end of the year.
Cyprus has previously talked about an undersea pipeline from Aphrodite to Egypt’s Idku LNG plant. In addition to exports as LNG, some of the Aphrodite gas would also go to Egypt’s domestic needs.
Noble Energy drilled the original A-1 discovery well on Aphrodite in 2011, giving an estimated 5-8 trillion cubic feet (142-227 bcm) of gas. It drilled the follow up A-2 well in 2013.
The Stena Forth recently drilled the Cronos discovery offshore Cyprus for Eni and TotalEnergies. The rig also drilled the Glaucus-2 appraisal for ExxonMobil off Cyprus.
The rig is currently working offshore Egypt. Esgian has reported it is under contract to Chevron. It was due to come available from May 2023.