The recent emergence of the Eastern Mediterranean as a new energy-exporting region was unexpected, but its true potential remains unexplored. The gas reserves discovered in the territorial waters of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt are already contributing to the energy security of these countries. Nevertheless, regional disputes, involving virtually all future gas producers as well as the planned transportation routes, the novelty of the discoveries and the political and economic risk associated with further exploration threaten the sector’s future development. East Mediterranean gas reserves can potentially be useful to the EU, which aims to diversify its energy suppliers, but are fundamental to fuel the energy demands of such countries as Egypt and Turkey, whose economic stability is key to the political balance in the region.
Paper prepared for the Italian Center for Peace in MiddleEast (CIPMO), October 2016. Presented at the international conference “Regional Cooperation and the Development of Energy Resources in the Eastern Mediterranean” held in Rome on 19 October 2016 and jointly organised by CIPMO and the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) with the support of Eni.
Introduction: The East Med gas potential
1. Egypt, Zohr and the challenges of the internal market vis-à-vis export strategies
2. Cyprus, territorial disputes and the development of energy resources
3. Evolution of gas exploration policies in Israel and limits to regional energy cooperation
4. Export options: Which way for East Med gas?
Conclusion: Options for energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean