This article discusses the recent exploration activity, the possibilities of gas exports and export destinations, the options for export infrastructure, and gives an overview of their potential impact on the conflict-laden geopolitical landscape of the region.
Offshore drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean has a rather short history. The first offshore gas discovery was made in in Egypt 34 km northeast of Alexandria. A new wave of interest developed after a handful of modest gas discoveries occurred in and at shallow depths west of the coastal town of Ashkelon in Israel and Gaza Strip.
These successes accelerated exploration efforts resulting in three large scale discoveries: Tamar and Leviathan fields in and offshore Israel and Aphrodite in off the coast of southern Cyprus RC. The next big discovery came in with the giant Zohr gas field in a deep offshore zone of the Mediterranean, off the coast of Egypt. The above mentioned discoveries, the USGS assessment as well as the eye-opening resource potential estimates by Cypriot and Lebanese officials, have not only significantly augmented hopes for large natural gas potential in the East Mediterranean but also made it a fast rising favorite for international oil and gas companies.
Developments of the Leviathan field -resource potential estimated at bcm— and others have been jeopardized or unable to proceed as a result of numerous political and regulatory obstacles such as the allocation of discovered resources into exports and domestic market, taxation and administrative uncertainties, and an anti-trust ruling stemming from the concerns that the two leading companies active in the Israeli upstream sector constitute monopoly.
Progressively these uncertainties have been lifted and with the approval of the Supreme Court in May , the so-called Natural Gas Framework has been established. The removal of regulatory uncertainties and risks following the approval of the new gas sector framework by the government paved the way for a resurgence of exploration activity. Results are expected in Meanwhile, in February , the Final Investment Decision has been taken for the first stage development the Leviathan field.
Negotiations with the selected bidders for the offshore hydrocarbon exploration licenses for three blocks offered in the last bidding round in were completed in early March Approval by the government is expected soon. Despite successful bidding rounds, exploration activities so far have been rather disappointing. To date only one discovery Aphrodite field, estimated to hold bcm of gas, in December was made. The development program for the field has been presented in June , with an estimated production capacity of 8. The final investment decision is hoped to be taken soon.
If everything goes well, start of commercial flows from the fields to domestic and foreign markets are expected in The discovery of new fields would be a game changer for Cyprus, since the Aphrodite field alone does not allow the set-up of any export infrastructure and export plans. Egypt is a country with an old history of oil and gas production. Egypt enjoyed total energy independence and could export gas through two liquefaction terminals and two pipeline pipelines linking it to Israel and Jordan. Declining production and booming domestic demand have made the country recently a net gas importer.
Recent discoveries, particularly the Zohr field in -with bcm of gas in place it is considered as the largest ever gas discovery in the Mediterranean Sea- has radically changed the picture. This success, which is regarded as a geological game changer, is stimulating new exploration activity from various major international companies in the country.
Finally these decrees were ratified in January and hence the process has been launched. Bids for 5 blocks three of which are in the disputed zone with Israel are due by mid-September. Agreements with winners are scheduled to be signed in November. Nevertheless with the conflict still raging, no progress has been registered and any development seems unrealistic.
Turkey has drilled 13 wells in the Mediterranean waters between and but no commercial quantity of hydrocarbons was discovered. However, exploration activity in terms of seismic acquisition in the area has been increased recently. Discoveries make sense if reserves are converted into production capacity. Companies will carry on costly exploration and field development endeavors if they see the ability to commercialize their discoveries with a favorable rate of return.
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In other words, serious companies do not make investment decisions due to hype or illusion. Offshore discoveries in Israel and Cyprus contain more than enough gas to meet their needs for decades and therefore the development of the fields require exports to foreign markets.
Several agreements to export Israeli gas from the Tamar and the Leviathan field to the Palestine, to Jordan, and to Egypt have been signed; and discussions are going on to bring gas from Cyprus to Egypt. However, the prospects of exports to Egypt or the use of the existing infrastructure of the two LNG Liquefied Natural Gas plants located in Idku and Damietta, which have a combined capacity of 19 bcm per year, to re-export are dim in the medium to long term.
It is because Egypt may no longer require gas imports for domestic use and may start exporting gas again in the early s when production from Zohr and from other fields catches up with demand. In , a young woman from Venice, Beatrice Michiel, boarded a ship bound for Constantinople where she joined her brother, Gazanfer. Over his year stay in Constantinople, Gazanfer never lost touch with his mother and sister in Venice, who subsequently decided to join him. Among the stories that circulated in 17th-century Venice, one of the most famous was that of Roxelana.
Goods, objects and food circulated too. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, European elites were fascinated by Turkish culture.
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Ottoman-style fashion inspired, music, architecture and artefacts. Regulations regarding the arrival of foreigners, border controls and policies of acceptance varied greatly across the Mediterranean in the early modern period. Authorities often showed a very practical approach. The Ottoman state welcomed Jewish refugees in the 15th and 16th century in order to take advantage of their technical competencies and trade networks. For example, during the Reformation, the Pope tried to restrict the arrival and stay of protestants within the papal state.
In the Ottoman Empire, religious belonging also shaped the politics of integration as religious communities were in charge of offering assistance to newcomers of their own faith. This prevalence of migration from north to south across the Mediterranean continued up until the 20th century, when it began to shift in the other direction. A first flow of impoverished peasants from northern Africa to Europe, displaced by European colonisation, was followed after the wave of post-World War II independence by the return of those Europeans who had settled in colonies.
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Later, in the s, the arrival of workers from the southern shore of the Mediterranean was encouraged by European governments in need of workers. The roots for this shift in direction of migratory flows are found in economic and political processes that started back in the 17th century, such as the growing influence of European power. This would go on to reshape the economic relationship between the two shores of the Mediterranean. It would eventually result in the transformation of the Middle East and North Africa during the centuries that followed into suppliers of raw material for French and British factories and pave the way for colonisation.
Buck, B. Cagninei, A. Productivity analysis of the full scale inertial sea wave energy converter prototype: a test case in Pantelleria Island. Energy Christie, N. Co-location of activities and designations: a means of solving or creating problems in marine spatial planning? Policy 43, — doi: Coiro, D. Copping, A. An international assessment of the environmental effects of marine energy development. Ocean Coast.
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