Israel’s claims the field extends into the Yishai license are delaying a cooperation agreement between the two countries.
A disagreement between Israel and Cyprus over development of the Aphrodite gas reservoir is delaying the signing of a unitization agreement between the countries, designed to arrange the development of oil and natural gas reservoirs shared by the two countries and other cooperative energy efforts. Israeli sources inform “Globes” that Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz, who was invited to Cyprus to discuss the promotion of joint projects for building a shared pipeline for exporting natural gas to Europe and laying an electrical cable between Israel and Cyprus, is delaying his trip until negotiations on the agreement, which have been taking place for over five years, are completed.
Actually, Israel is demanding a role in the approval of development of the Aphrodite reservoir, which it says is partly in its waters. For its part, the Cypriot government is willing to discuss the matter, but the Israeli demand is delaying the signing of an agreement.
The unitization agreement was slated for signing together with the marine areas border agreement in 2010, but the signing has been delayed by disputes over principles and various technical matters. A senior Israeli source involved in the negotiations told “Globes” that the demand for cooperation in development of the reservoir is based on international law and practice in similar drillings around the world. “We’re asking for what we’re entitled to, according to accepted practice,” he said.
Cypriot government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides told “Globes,” “The Cypriot government is willing to discuss with Israel cooperation in the development of the Aphrodite reservoir, and wants to finish the talks about the unitization agreement as soon as possible.”