The Prospect of Eastern Mediterranean Gas Production: An Alternative Energy Supplier for the EU?

15-04-2014

Israeli gas discoveries in 2009 and 2010 have transformed the Eastern Mediterranean into a natural gas producing region and a potential energy exporter for European and Asian markets. However, the turbulent political situation in Egypt, the Syrian civil war, the tensions between Israel and Gaza, the long-lasting dispute between Turkey and Cyprus, and the maritime border disputes cast a shadow on this economic opportunity. Moreover, the gas industry in the Eastern Mediterranean is at an infant stage, and the countries concerned seem unable to coordinate their plans for future exports. Global actors are ready to exploit the Eastern Mediterranean’s strategic implications. Russia aims to safeguard its gas monopoly, the United States to support its business interest, and Europe to increase its energy security and reduce dependence on Russia in the light of the Crimean crisis. In this context, the European Union should back the strategic triangle of Israel, Cyprus and Turkey as a first step towards the construction of an Eastern Mediterranean energy corridor.

Israeli gas discoveries in 2009 and 2010 have transformed the Eastern Mediterranean into a natural gas producing region and a potential energy exporter for European and Asian markets. However, the turbulent political situation in Egypt, the Syrian civil war, the tensions between Israel and Gaza, the long-lasting dispute between Turkey and Cyprus, and the maritime border disputes cast a shadow on this economic opportunity. Moreover, the gas industry in the Eastern Mediterranean is at an infant stage, and the countries concerned seem unable to coordinate their plans for future exports. Global actors are ready to exploit the Eastern Mediterranean’s strategic implications. Russia aims to safeguard its gas monopoly, the United States to support its business interest, and Europe to increase its energy security and reduce dependence on Russia in the light of the Crimean crisis. In this context, the European Union should back the strategic triangle of Israel, Cyprus and Turkey as a first step towards the construction of an Eastern Mediterranean energy corridor.