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Cyprus, Egypt conclude deal on natural gas pipe

Staff Writer |
Cyprus and Egypt have concluded a deal on the construction of an undersea pipeline to carry Cypriot natural gas to Egyptian liquefaction installations, Cypriot state television reported on Monday.

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It said the agreement had received the blessing of the European Union (EU) and would be signed in the autumn.

The pipe will partly use existing Egyptian infrastructure to carry natural gas from Cypriot Aphrodite natural gas field to Idku or Damietta, where liquefaction plants lay idle as a result of the depletion of Egyptian fields in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The state television said the conclusion of the deal will set in motion the process for exploiting the Aphrodite field, which is managed by U.S.-based Noble Energy, in association with an Israeli company and Shell.

It also reported the Cypriot government is on the verge of commencing negotiations with Noble Energy about its request to increase the share of the companies in the proceeds from the field.

Noble Energy asked that the participation of the Cypriot government and the companies in the proceeds from the sale of the gas -- which was originally agreed at a 60 to 40 percent ratio -- be reversed.

The state television quoted informed sources as saying that the government's intention to start negotiations on Noble Energy' request was not to accept it, but to introduce new elements in the agreement.

The sources were reported as saying that if there were to be any differentiation in the proceeds ratio, it must be accompanied by new stipulations, such as that the exploitation of the gas field will commence within a fixed time frame.

The state television said the Cypriot government's plan is to start selling gas from Aphrodite in 2022. The Aphrodite gas field has been estimated to contain at least 4.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

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