South-Eastern Mediterranean gas findings have raised much interest in recent years. Even though the estimated quantity of reserves is not globally significant, it is enough to be a regional game changer, promising a considerable amount of gas surplus to be exported. The main export route and potential customers are still being debated. Turkey, with its growing gas consumption, geographical location and existing pipeline system, is considered to be the most feasible option both as a customer and a transport route. Nevertheless, the fact that Israel and Cyprus, with whom Turkey had difficult relations, are the first two explorers of significant resources complicates considerably the situation. Optimistically, the reserves may lead to a solution to the Cyprus conflict and restore diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey. However, energy resources are known to be a double-edged sword that can lead to collaboration but also to conflict. Either way, gas production will find its way to the markets. It will be up to regional actors to decide whether this way will be paved via interim agreements or via a permanent settlement that could initiate regional energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Paper produced within the framework of the IAI-Edison project "The changing regional role of Turkey and cooperation with the EU in the neighbourhood".
1. Overview of the South-Eastern Mediterranean resources
1.1. Estimated reserves of the South-Eastern Mediterranean
1.2. Monetization options for the reserves
2. Turkey: a market and a route
3. A mixed blessing: a pipeline to Turkey
3.1. Political challenges
3.2. Chance for a breakthrough