The Eastern
Mediterranean signifies the countries that geographically placed to the east of
the Mediterranean Sea. This is commonly understood in two ways. The province of
Syria with the island of Cyprus (also known as the Levant), and Turkey, which
restricts the description to Western Asia. The Levant with Greece and Egypt, so
with European and African areas to the definition. The Eastern Mediterranean
residents share not only geographic location but also gastronomy, certain
tradition and a long, entangled past. The countries and territories of the
Eastern Mediterranean includes Iraq, Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine,
Israel, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan.

Concentration in the
Eastern Mediterranean as a natural gas resource base has been increasing since
Israel made its first large-scale natural gas discovery in 2009. The Tamar
Field off the Israeli coast was the first of a sequences of large-scale natural
gas findings in the region. Substantial consequent detections have been made in
Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt, while Lebanon has been dynamically trying to
evaluate its resources. In 2010, the United States Geological Survey (USGS)
projected that there could be up to an extra 122 trillion cubic feet of
undiscovered natural gas resources in the Levant Basin, which contains a large share
of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The USGS report also shown that there could
be up to 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Levant Basin, making
future oil discovery likely. Nevertheless, the recession in global oil and
natural gas prices, starting in mid-2014, has inhibited the growth of resources
and made markets more competitive. Developments that are considered costly,
difficult, or problematic have been put on hold in many situations. Many
companies no longer have the monetary resources or inspiration to progress
resources in these challenging environments.

For the Eastern
Mediterranean, this has meant a stoppage in emerging some of the natural gas
that has been discovered, postponing the search for new discoveries, and demanding
superior exertion to find markets for the region’s natural gas. Europe, given
its nearness to the Eastern Mediterranean, is the most reasonable market for
Eastern Mediterranean natural gas production. In total, European natural gas
consumption has mostly been in decay since 2010. Imports to Europe grew by more
than 10% in 2015, opposing the decline in imports from 2011 to 2014.

By one industry guess,
Lebanon could have up to 15 TCF of recoverable offshore gas. Lebanon has not
yet given permission to any companies to start investigative work to determine
possible resources, nor have state organizations confirmed possible gas
deposits. Lebanon still must declare verdicts explaining both a taxation policy
and which chunks are to be opened for search. There are several factors in
Lebanon that could potentially constrain future progress on the search and
development of possible gas resources. Firstly, more than one million refugees
displaced by the Syrian civil war have arrived Lebanon. The state has had to
divert considerable amounts of resources to deal with the refugee crisis, and
insistent Syria-related national security challenges might distract from
efforts to develop gas in the Mediterranean. Secondly, the Lebanese parliament
has continued gridlocked and has failed to elect a new president over two dozen
times since 2014. Until a political compromise is compensated, the gridlocked
parliament may have trouble advancing with an arrangement to fund exploration

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Lebanon and Israel are
locked at this time in a disagreement over naval limitations. The 1949 Israel-Lebanon
armistice line serves as the de facto land border between the two countries,
and Lebanon claims roughly 330 square miles of waters that connect with regions
claimed by Israel. Lebanon has threatened to use its military to defend its
claims and has demanded help from foreign powers to resolve the dispute. To this
date, there has been no conflicts. Lebanon has named its boundary dispute with
Israel as a primary problem to the search and development of its gas resources.
Development of Israel’s natural gas resources has not been overdue by Lebanese
claims. It is possible that the uncertain area could be the reason of further
tension between Israel and Lebanon as Israel continues to develop its gas
reserves. In seeking to help Israel and Lebanon resolve their differences on
this problem, the United States appears to be concerned in enabling a friendlier
and profitable environment for all parties involved (including U.S. energy corporations),
and in avoiding the dispute from worsening long-standing hostilities between
the two countries. It is uncertain to what extent U.S. diplomacy on this matter
can ease changes in the existing Israeli and Lebanese attitudes.

For the most part, the
Eastern Mediterranean countries either do not use natural gas as a fuel (i.e.,
Cyprus and Lebanon) or are basically independent in natural gas (i.e., Israel
and Syria), except for Greece and Turkey, which are heavily reliant on upon
imports. Egypt, which has large natural gas resources, started importing
natural gas in 2015 to encounter its promoted demand. Egypt’s state may change
in the short term if it can limit its subsidies for natural gas or change its
plans to promote more natural gas growth. Expansion of the region’s natural gas
resources could meet the potential growing needs of most of the countries, and
add some variation of supply for Turkey. For this to happen, numerous
geopolitical steps would need to be overcome, and new organization would have
to be built. 

Cyprus settled its
third certifying round for offshore exploration in July 2016. This latest round
contains blocks together with the Egyptian Zohr supergiant ground and has
attracted a minor number of multinational corporations. Search rights for this
round of certifying are predicted to result in early 2017.

On the other hand, the
region has another dispute. The Republic of Cyprus is globally recognized as
the valid government of Cyprus and is a member of the European Union. However,
Turkey refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus and instead recognizes the
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Turkey upholds up to 40,000 troops in
Northern Cyprus. Discussions to unite the island under one equally governed
confederation between Turkish Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus enhanced in
2015. Although Turkey has not precisely disputed possession of the Aphrodite
Field, Turkey strongly opposes the growth of Cypriot natural gas resources
unless the Turkish Cypriots will be a part in the economic benefits or until
the resolve of the “Cyprus problem” is found. Since its current settlement with
Israel, Turkey has increased its interest in importing Israeli natural gas over
a pipeline that would flow through the Cypriot economic region. Cyprus has stated
that it would not allow any gas pipeline linking Israel and Turkey to be built
in its exclusive economic zone until a Cyprus solution is found. This situation
has delayed more progress on a possible pipeline linking Israel and Turkey.

The conflict in Syria
has harshly restricted the country’s ability to produce oil and natural gas. With
fighting growing in oil and natural gas producing regions, the influence on the
country’s energy segment will likely to increase. Damage to the country’s
energy infrastructure has by now cost billions of dollars, and the longer the
war continues the higher the rebuilding costs are likely to be. Conflict from
the fighting in Syria may also affect the energy sectors in Israel, Jordan,
Lebanon, and Turkey, and almost all plans to habit Syria as a transit country
for energy resources are suspended for the predictable future.

Modern civilization
has developed more reliant on energy in almost all human actions. Multiple
systems of energy are indispensable in the housing, manufacturing and
transportation sectors. Energy is also critical in functioning military
operations. Indeed, the effort to regulate oil resources was a main motive in
World War 2. In short, our growing dependence on energy has strenghten the
status of energy security. The first oil shock in the outcome of the 1973
Arab–Israeli war put energy security at the core of the energy policy agenda of
most industrialized nations. Since then, policymakers and analysts have wanted
to outline the notion of ‘energy security’. The European Union embodies 25
countries and 450 million energy consumers. An active and intelligible energy
policy would allow the European Union to preserve its prominent place on the
international arena. This energy policy must be built on a recognition that
interdependence is the foundation of the energy landscape of the 21st century.
Diplomatic and economic discussions, not military conflicts, are likely to
strengthen partnerships with producing regions and enhance Europe’s energy

Eastern Mediterranean
gas and oil resources plays a key role in the future of the oil and gas
markets. If the conflicts and civil wars could end with a permanent solution,
enabling the region to stabilize for the long term, investors and manufacturers
would invest to the region. In my opinion, we can not oversee fact that most of
the worlds energy demand is supplied from this region. But the region itself
was not able to stabilize and grow because of the historical and ethnic
conflicts throughout the history. It is crucial for the energy demanding
countries to make sure the region finally receives peace. It is both in their
interest and for the region as well. 


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