NICOSIA, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- A consortium of three energy companies wants to renegotiate their agreement with the government on sharing revenue from an offshore natural gas field, energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said on Tuesday.
"We examined all available options and we decided that the best one is to try and find a mutually acceptable solution with the consortium so that the Aphrodite gas field is developed as soon as possible," Lakkotrypis said after a summer meeting of the Council of Ministers.
U.S.-based Noble Energy, Israeli Delek and British Gas, a subsidiary of Shell, had asked to renegotiate the contract with the Cypriot government so as to increase their share from 40 percent to 60 percent and reduce Cyprus's share from 60 to 40 percent.
They said that conditions since the gas was found in 2011 have dropped to a point which has negatively affected investment in hydrocarbons.
The Cypriot government has said it does not share this view, but decided to talk with the companies so as to develop the 4.5 trillion cubic feet capacity Aphrodite field quickly.
"Development of the field would have a lot of financial and geopolitical benefit," Lakkotrypis said.
Sources said that any changes in the sharing scale have to be offset by a commitment by the companies to expedite infrastructure needed for the exploitation of the field.
Cyprus is close to signing an agreement with Egypt to provide natural gas from Aphrodite field, in block 12 of the Cypriot exclusive economic zone, to liquefaction plants at Damietta or Idku through a pipe.
Egypt already has an extensive pipe infrastructure from its depleted gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean that will be joined with a pipe system from the Cypriot field.
Energy ministry sources said the Cypriot planning is to send gas to Egypt as of 2022.
A consortium made up of Italy's ENI and France's Total companies has tapped another gas field named Calypso in Cypriot block 6, with an estimated capacity of 6.5 trillion cubic feet.
ExxonMobil, in association with Qatar Petroleum, is preparing to drill in the last three months of this year in Cypriot block 11, which adjoins the mammoth Egyptian Zohr field, with an estimated capacity of 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.