The development of the Aphrodite deposit is proceeding as planned, Cyprus Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis said on Monday, while saying there is no pre-condition for a special agreement with Israel. Speaking at the Philoxenia Convention Center, while attending the CCCI General Assembly, Mr. Lakkotrypis was asked about the publication of the Israeli Globes and the announcement of the Israeli Embassy on the development of Aphrodite.
In response, the Minister said that the Israeli Embassy’s announcement is the position of the Israeli side as reflected in the negotiations that have been going on for some time. From the Cypriot side, the Minister said that “the development of the Aphrodite deposit is proceeding as planned”.
Regarding the special agreement with Israel, he said that there is an institutionalized process, which has been followed for some time and will continue to be followed. “But the most important thing I want to emphasize is that these two things, namely the development of ‘Aphrodite’ and the institutionalized procedure for a special agreement, are not related to the Cypriot side,” he noted.
In another question regarding the companies involved, Mr Lakkotrypis said that “the subject of this special agreement has been known for a long time and yet we have proceeded to conclude the agreements within November which you have seen”. “Certainly as a Republic we would prefer this framework to govern functioning, but I must emphasize that it is not a prerequisite for the development of Aphrodite,” he added.
Asked if he sees any feasibility in these reports, the Energy Minister said that as the Israeli Embassy’s announcement states, this is the position of the Israeli side and is not a position adopted by the Republic of Cyprus.
“Our position is clear and it is as follows: Whether agreed or not, if it turns out that there is natural gas coming out of Israel and deriving from our side, the Republic of Cyprus will certainly compensate Israel accordingly. There is no way, either with or without an agreement, to give up their rights, nor we ours, ”he said.
Regarding the timetables, the Energy Minister said that it is an institutionalized process, which is ongoing. The positions of each side are being exchanged and our positions will be sent very soon, he concluded.
Israel in favor of regulating ‘Aphrodite’ – ‘Yisai’
Israel’s position in favor of negotiations with the Cypriot government to settle the dispute over “Aphrodite-Yisai” deposits is reflected in the letter of the Israeli Ministry of Energy’s Director General, through an announcement of the Israeli Embassy published in the Israeli “Globes”.
“The letter from the Director General of the Ministry of Energy to the Aphrodite Drilling Consortium reflects Israel’s position as presented in the talks between the two countries,” the Israeli Embassy in Nicosia said in a statement.
As noted, “the Government of Israel would be pleased, at any time, to continue negotiations with the Government of Cyprus on the settlement of the rights of the ‘Yisai’ and ‘Aphrodite’ deposits, as has been relayed to the Cypriot side to several cases. ”
“Such regulation,” it says, “will allow the prospects in the two fields to be maximized and will benefit both countries and their economies by contributing to stability and economic growth in the eastern part of the Mediterranean basin.”
In a related report, Globes notes that Israeli Ministry of Energy’s Director General Udi Adiri wrote to Aphrodite’s consortium Noble Energy, Shell and Delek Drilling that they could not proceed with the development of Aphrodite until the dispute is resolved.
According to Mr. Adiri, Israel, according to Globes, is opposed to the development of the Cypriot deposit until the dispute is resolved. “I would like to inform you that the State of Israel has not withdrawn its share of the Aphrodite-Yisai deposit and has no intention of doing so,” Mr. Adiri said in his letter.
According to the Globes, Mr Antiri characterizes the Yisai-Venus deposit as a cross-border deposit and adds that the governments of Cyprus and Israel have been negotiating for several years with a view to reaching a bilateral agreement on exploitation. He notes that one of the options under consideration was the possibility of launching direct negotiations between the licensees and the two countries, subject to the approval of the two states.