Cyprus, Israel Seek Gas-Sharing Formula To Unlock East Med Energy Hub

An ownership squabble over Cyprus’ main natural gas field is threatening to delay multi-billion dollar plans to turn the eastern Mediterranean into a major energy hub.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz are flying to Cyprus on May 8 to spur plans to join the two countries’ electricity grids and construct a pipeline to link newly found gas fields to mainland Europe.

Standing in the way, however, is a dispute over Aphrodite, a gas field discovered in 2011 at the edge of Cyprus’ economic waters. One tip of it stretches across the border into Israel’s maritime zone. Also, Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla said on May 7 that a planned pipeline connecting Cyprus’ Aphrodite gas field to Egypt’s LNG facilities will cost between $800 million and $1 billion.