The EasternMediterranean signifies the countries that geographically placed to the east ofthe Mediterranean Sea. This is commonly understood in two ways. The province ofSyria with the island of Cyprus (also known as the Levant), and Turkey, whichrestricts the description to Western Asia. The Levant with Greece and Egypt, sowith European and African areas to the definition. The Eastern Mediterraneanresidents share not only geographic location but also gastronomy, certaintradition and a long, entangled past. The countries and territories of theEastern Mediterranean includes Iraq, Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine,Israel, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan.Concentration in theEastern Mediterranean as a natural gas resource base has been increasing sinceIsrael made its first large-scale natural gas discovery in 2009.
The TamarField off the Israeli coast was the first of a sequences of large-scale naturalgas findings in the region. Substantial consequent detections have been made inIsrael, Cyprus, and Egypt, while Lebanon has been dynamically trying toevaluate its resources. In 2010, the United States Geological Survey (USGS)projected that there could be up to an extra 122 trillion cubic feet ofundiscovered natural gas resources in the Levant Basin, which contains a large shareof the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The USGS report also shown that there couldbe up to 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Levant Basin, makingfuture oil discovery likely. Nevertheless, the recession in global oil andnatural gas prices, starting in mid-2014, has inhibited the growth of resourcesand made markets more competitive. Developments that are considered costly,difficult, or problematic have been put on hold in many situations.
Manycompanies no longer have the monetary resources or inspiration to progressresources in these challenging environments.For the EasternMediterranean, this has meant a stoppage in emerging some of the natural gasthat has been discovered, postponing the search for new discoveries, and demandingsuperior exertion to find markets for the region’s natural gas. Europe, givenits nearness to the Eastern Mediterranean, is the most reasonable market forEastern Mediterranean natural gas production. In total, European natural gasconsumption has mostly been in decay since 2010. Imports to Europe grew by morethan 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 notyet given permission to any companies to start investigative work to determinepossible resources, nor have state organizations confirmed possible gasdeposits. Lebanon still must declare verdicts explaining both a taxation policyand which chunks are to be opened for search. There are several factors inLebanon that could potentially constrain future progress on the search anddevelopment of possible gas resources. Firstly, more than one million refugeesdisplaced by the Syrian civil war have arrived Lebanon. The state has had todivert considerable amounts of resources to deal with the refugee crisis, andinsistent Syria-related national security challenges might distract fromefforts to develop gas in the Mediterranean.
Secondly, the Lebanese parliamenthas continued gridlocked and has failed to elect a new president over two dozentimes since 2014. Until a political compromise is compensated, the gridlockedparliament may have trouble advancing with an arrangement to fund explorationrights. Lebanon and Israel arelocked at this time in a disagreement over naval limitations. The 1949 Israel-Lebanonarmistice line serves as the de facto land border between the two countries,and Lebanon claims roughly 330 square miles of waters that connect with regionsclaimed by Israel.
Lebanon has threatened to use its military to defend itsclaims and has demanded help from foreign powers to resolve the dispute. To thisdate, there has been no conflicts. Lebanon has named its boundary dispute withIsrael 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 Lebaneseclaims. It is possible that the uncertain area could be the reason of furthertension between Israel and Lebanon as Israel continues to develop its gasreserves. In seeking to help Israel and Lebanon resolve their differences onthis problem, the United States appears to be concerned in enabling a friendlierand profitable environment for all parties involved (including U.
S. energy corporations),and in avoiding the dispute from worsening long-standing hostilities betweenthe two countries. It is uncertain to what extent U.S. diplomacy on this mattercan ease changes in the existing Israeli and Lebanese attitudes.For the most part, theEastern 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., Israeland Syria), except for Greece and Turkey, which are heavily reliant on uponimports. Egypt, which has large natural gas resources, started importingnatural gas in 2015 to encounter its promoted demand. Egypt’s state may changein the short term if it can limit its subsidies for natural gas or change itsplans to promote more natural gas growth. Expansion of the region’s natural gasresources could meet the potential growing needs of most of the countries, andadd some variation of supply for Turkey.
For this to happen, numerousgeopolitical steps would need to be overcome, and new organization would haveto be built. Cyprus settled itsthird certifying round for offshore exploration in July 2016. This latest roundcontains blocks together with the Egyptian Zohr supergiant ground and hasattracted a minor number of multinational corporations. Search rights for thisround of certifying are predicted to result in early 2017.
On the other hand, theregion has another dispute. The Republic of Cyprus is globally recognized asthe valid government of Cyprus and is a member of the European Union. However,Turkey refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus and instead recognizes theTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Turkey upholds up to 40,000 troops inNorthern Cyprus. Discussions to unite the island under one equally governedconfederation between Turkish Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus enhanced in2015. Although Turkey has not precisely disputed possession of the AphroditeField, Turkey strongly opposes the growth of Cypriot natural gas resourcesunless the Turkish Cypriots will be a part in the economic benefits or untilthe resolve of the “Cyprus problem” is found. Since its current settlement withIsrael, Turkey has increased its interest in importing Israeli natural gas overa pipeline that would flow through the Cypriot economic region. Cyprus has statedthat it would not allow any gas pipeline linking Israel and Turkey to be builtin its exclusive economic zone until a Cyprus solution is found.
This situationhas delayed more progress on a possible pipeline linking Israel and Turkey.The conflict in Syriahas harshly restricted the country’s ability to produce oil and natural gas. Withfighting growing in oil and natural gas producing regions, the influence on thecountry’s energy segment will likely to increase. Damage to the country’senergy infrastructure has by now cost billions of dollars, and the longer thewar continues the higher the rebuilding costs are likely to be. Conflict fromthe 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 countryfor energy resources are suspended for the predictable future.Modern civilizationhas developed more reliant on energy in almost all human actions. Multiplesystems of energy are indispensable in the housing, manufacturing andtransportation sectors. Energy is also critical in functioning militaryoperations.
Indeed, the effort to regulate oil resources was a main motive inWorld War 2. In short, our growing dependence on energy has strenghten thestatus of energy security. The first oil shock in the outcome of the 1973Arab–Israeli war put energy security at the core of the energy policy agenda ofmost industrialized nations. Since then, policymakers and analysts have wantedto outline the notion of ‘energy security’. The European Union embodies 25countries and 450 million energy consumers. An active and intelligible energypolicy would allow the European Union to preserve its prominent place on theinternational arena. This energy policy must be built on a recognition thatinterdependence is the foundation of the energy landscape of the 21st century.Diplomatic and economic discussions, not military conflicts, are likely tostrengthen partnerships with producing regions and enhance Europe’s energysecurity.
Eastern Mediterraneangas and oil resources plays a key role in the future of the oil and gasmarkets. If the conflicts and civil wars could end with a permanent solution,enabling the region to stabilize for the long term, investors and manufacturerswould invest to the region. In my opinion, we can not oversee fact that most ofthe worlds energy demand is supplied from this region. But the region itselfwas not able to stabilize and grow because of the historical and ethnicconflicts throughout the history. It is crucial for the energy demandingcountries to make sure the region finally receives peace. It is both in theirinterest and for the region as well.