East Mediterranean Gas – what kind of a game-changer?
The discovery of sizable gas resources in the Levant Basin, a geological structure that straddles the territorial waters of Cyprus, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, and Syria, has the potential to be game-changing for the East Mediterranean region. Hitherto net energy importers, these countries are now faced with the prospect of long-term energy self-sufficiency and the development of a new revenue stream for the economy. With the resource potential of the Levant Basin believed to be much higher than the 35 Tcf of gas discovered recently, the East Mediterranean is now the focus of much interest on the part of major upstream investors. However, in the short to medium term, the development and monetisation of these resources present stakeholders with a set of challenges originating in the region’s complex political make-up, as well as in the fact that their energy and gas utilisation policies are still work in progress, over and above the technical difficulties relating to the development of these resources. This paper examines the challenges and opportunities that have been given rise to by these discoveries, arguing that to 2020 East Mediterranean gas is more likely to be a game-changer for local energy systems than for regional and international gas markets.