Saturday, February 18, 2012

Eastern Mediterranean: "Great. Like They Needed Something Else to Fight Over"

From Streetwise Professor:

Walter Russell Mead’s excellent blog recently discussed the conflicts over massive natural gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean:
Naturally, the race to get the gas has reinvigorated old arguments (Cyprus-Turkey) and added fuel to newer disagreements (Israel-Turkey). Israel and Cyprus have been fastest off the blocks, agreeing their common maritime border in 2010 and contracting exploration work to Noble Energy. Turkey, on the other hand, has been slow to react and increasingly confrontational, holding naval exercises and trying to prevent Cyprus from accessing gas that Turkey says belong to Northern Cyprus, which only Ankara recognizes as a country. The confrontation also threatens to further destabilize Israeli relations with Turkey, which appeared to be on the uptick this week when an Israeli delegation arrived in Turkey’s quake-hit Van Province with aid supplies; “You are our true friends” said Van’s vice governor.
The gas reserves in the Levant Basin may be large enough to make Cyprus self-sufficient in energy and turn Israel into a major gas exporter for the next several decades. That, and Israel’s new tilt toward Greece as a way of countering the cold wind in its relations with Turkey, is opening a new era in Israel-Cyprus relations. Netanyahu is on his way to Nicosia this week (the first ever visit of an Israeli PM to the island), and Israel is expected to formally ask to station fighter jets at a southern Cypriot airbase.
Oh joy. Another reason for conflict in a region of the world that counts conflict and strife as its most important export.

Unmentioned in Mead’s post is Russia, the country which has a huge economic stake in the development of a major gas resource right next to its major western European customers....MORE
Russian Carrier, Israeli Military in Joint Exercises This Week Off Cyprus
How Much will Noble Energy Be Taxed On Their Big Israeli Gas Find? (NBL)

Soros, Berkshire/ISCAR's Wertheimer Buying into Israeli NatGas Exploration (NBL; ATPG; ADENF)