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Cypriot Energy Minister denies gas dispute with Israel

Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry & Tourism Georgios Lakkotrypis is denying a report by “Globes” two days ago that disagreements between Israel and Cyprus were delaying development of the Aphrodite natural gas reservoir.

According to Cypriot press reports, Lakkotrypis said that only two weeks ago, he spoke on the phone with Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz, and they arranged to talk again as soon as possible. Lakkotrypis added that they expected to meet in Nicosia, Cyprus in November in order to move forward on the matter.

Two days ago, “Globes” revealed that disagreements between Israel and Cyprus over development of the Aphrodite reservoir were delaying the signing of a unitization agreement between the two countries. The agreement is designed to arrange development of the oil and gas reservoirs shared by the two countries, as well as additional cooperation in energy. Aphrodite, discovered in Bloc 12 in Cypriot territorial waters, reaches in to the area of the Yishai license in Israeli waters.

The unitization agreement was slated for signing at the same time as a marine border agreement signed in 2010. Since that time, however, the signing has been postponed because of disputes about matters of principle and various technical matters. Sources involved in the negotiations told “Globes” that the main reason for the delay was the quantity of gas in Israeli territory and the extent of Israel’s involvement in development of the reservoir.

While Cypriot sources allege that only 3% of the reservoir is in Israel territory, Israel asserts that the percentage is much higher, and wants to be part of the development plan for the reservoir. Negotiations have been taking place between the parties for over five years. As reported by “Globes,” Steinitz, who has been invited by Cyrpus to discuss projects for setting up a joint gas pipeline for gas exports to Europe and laying an undersea power cable between Israel and Cyprus, is postponing his trip until the negotiations over an agreement have been completed.

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This article was written by Hedy Cohen from Globes, Tel Aviv, Israel and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.