Thursday, February 1, 2018

"It's Israel vs Lebanon And Hezbollah In Escalating Dispute Over Mediterranean Gas Field"

As noted in December 26's "Eastern Mediterranean may be scene of first conflict of 2018".

For orientation here's the Cyprus Mail last July:

Via ZeroHedge:
The eastern Mediterranean gas field that has been put up for tender by Lebanon and is expected to be developed by an international consortium of energy companies, belongs to Israel, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday. "They [Lebanon] are announcing a tender on the gas field, including Block 9, which is ours by any definition," Lieberman said at a conference in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli minister said that the respectable companies participating in the tender were making a major mistake, as their involvement in the project contradicts current rules and practices, calling Lebanese actions in the eastern Mediterranean "very, very challenging and provocative conduct here."

Lieberman said further that, "Respectable firms" bidding on the tender "are, to my mind, making a grave error - because this is contrary to all of the rules and all protocol in cases like this." His remarks were made before an international security conference at a Tel Aviv University national security conference.

In December, the Lebanese government approved provisions for the right to explore two energy blocks, namely Block 4 and Block 9, in Lebanon to the consortium of Russia’s Novatek natural gas producer with France’s Total and Italy’s Eni. Lebanon launched its first oil and gas production licensing auction in January 2017, opening five of ten of its Mediterranean blocks up for international bids....MORE
Disputed area above. Israel announced this week that "Block 9 is ours by definition" in a disputed area which also includes Lebanon's claims on Blocks 8 and 10. Map source: Tekmor Monitor 
As far back as 2012 the players were putting the pieces on the chessboard:

Eastern Mediterranean: "Great. Like They Needed Something Else to Fight Over"
Cyprus: Russian Navy to Send Permanent Fleet to Mediterranean (it's the natural gas)
Soros, Berkshire/ISCAR's Wertheimer Buying into Israeli NatGas Exploration (NBL; ATPG; ADENF)
How Much will Noble Energy Be Taxed On Their Big Israeli Gas Find? (NBL)
Arab Spring: "Israel's Key Energy Provider, Egypt, Cuts Off All Natural Gas Supplies"
Israel has had some very fortunately timed natural gas finds.
If they can keep them.
Oil, Gas and Geopolitics In Turkish Cyprus
World's Oldest Weather Report Found in Egypt: It Was Raining, People Were Crabby
Cyprus: Bear Hug
It's going to be the Russians.
Your humble blogger knew it.* FT Alphaville knew it.**
Sometimes geostrategy is straightforward. You've got Germany trying to play the Grand Strategy game against Russia. Who's got the gas? Who won the last time?