[can] enhance their growth and prosperity” and build a “bridge of friendship between our nations.” The Eastern Mediterranean is changing fast with its estimated 122 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas reserves (the equivalent of 21 billion barrels of oil) already having an impact on regional patterns of amity and enmity. With Israel and Cyprus well underway to becoming gas exporters, the problematic Israeli-Lebanese and Cypriot-Turkish relationships have been further strained.At the same time, energy cooperation has been the driving force behind the nascent Greek-Cypriot-Israeli partnership, manifested in rapidly growing defense and economic cooperation.Clearly, the development of energy resources and their transportation will have far-reaching geopolitical implications for the Eastern Mediterranean and its nations.
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Shifting Eastern Mediterranean Alliances by Emmanuel Karagiannis Middle East Quarterly – Spring 2016 (view PDF)
Shifting Eastern Mediterranean Alliances The exploitation of energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean has drawn together hitherto estranged states.
In August 2013, Cyprus, Greece, and Israel signed onto the “Euro Asia Interconnector” project, which would install a 2000-megawatt underwater electric cable (illustrated above) to connect their power grids and to be a means by which “three nations …
In February 2013, a seismic survey south of Crete indicated that rich hydrocarbon resources may soon be found in Greek waters.
Most recently, the Italian company Eni announced the discovery of a huge gas field off the coast of Egypt.
For reasons of geographical proximity, these Mediterranean energy resources concern first and foremost the European Union—the world’s third largest energy consumer behind China and the United States. While oil is still the dominant fuel, accounting for 33.8 percent of total EU energy consumption, natural gas comes in second at 23.4 percent. The Eastern Mediterranean gas reserves have three distinct advantages for European governments (and companies) and are thus viewed by them as a strategic priority.
That demand seems likely to be met in large part by the newly discovered gas reserves of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Israel has the potential to become an important regional producer of liquefied natural gas.
Its Tamar field, with estimated reserves of 9.7 trillion cubic feet (tcf), came online in 2013 while its Leviathan gas field (above), with a potential of 16 tcf, is slated to be ready for production in 2017.
Israel, for one, has the potential to become an important regional producer. Its Tamar field was confirmed to have estimated reserves of 9.7 tcf while its Leviathan gas field has the potential of producing up to 16 tcf. S.-based Noble Energy announced a major gas discovery south of Cyprus: The Aphrodite field was estimated to contain 7 tcf.