Israel, Greece, Cyprus discuss gas export to Europe

Benjamin Netanyahu, Alexis Tsipras and Nicos Anastasia’s will attend a trilateral summit in Nicosia dedicated to regional interests. Discussions will cover energy matters, including newly found offshore gas reserves.

Pandora's basin

The Levant Basin, 83 000 square kilometers, has large number of oil and gas fields. It includes Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Syria's exclusive economic zones. However, their borders are not enforced by international agreements. Before Eastern Mediterranean energy resources were discovered, demarcation was not important for leaders in the region. But the situation has changed and boundary lines now play a key role in the area of oil and gas, which has led to an escalation in the conflict.

National reserves

The Levant Basin has 3.45 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves and 267 million tons of oil reserves, according to the U.S. geological service (2010)

There are also small Israeli fields discovered in 1999, which have about 71 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The major Israeli gas fields, Leviathan (453 billion cubic meters) and Tamar (283 billion cubic meters), were discovered in 2009.

The Aphrodite (200 billion cubic meters ) natural gas field was discovered in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone in 2011.  But  results of exploration have shown drilling could result into a long and expensive process.

The Zohr gas field was discovered recently in the Egyptian sector of the Mediterranean Sea. The total gas there is around 850 billion cubic meters

National Interests

Turkey and Lebanon are standing against Cyprus and Israel. Some of the Israeli gas fields are situated in a disputed area, and the Lebanese government consider them as national property.  Peace between the two countries is still a long way away, and solving the problems is impossible. Turkey demands that the Greek Cypriots share its gas fields with it's neighbour, the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Turkey fails

Turkey was trying to seek closer ties with Israel after downing a Russian warplane, but failed to participate in the consortium. Greek and Israeli Defense Ministers accused Turkey of buying oil from the so-called Islamic State .Thus, they refused to interact with a criminal dealer.

Without Russia?

Israel is ready to export 40% of its gas and promote a pipeline which could connect Israel and Cyprus with the European mainland. The project is expected to be expensive, and will need serious investment, but it can allow the EU to cut its dependence on Russia. However, this diversification is not welcome in our country. Gazprom exported 146.6 billion cubic meters in 2014, and any competition is given no room to manoeuvre.