Former Vice-President of the United States Dick Cheney once said: “the good lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected states… Occasionally we have to operate in places where, all considered, one would not normally choose to go. But we go where the business is.” Europe is surrounded by states with abundant energy resources, but supply from these countries is not always as reliable. Russia, for example, is regularly accused of using energy as a weapon. However, major discoveries of gas in the Eastern Mediterranean could mitigate dependence on Russian gas.
The discovery of a gas field named Tamar near the coast of Israel in 2009 set off a wave of investments in the energy sector. After 9 years, companies are flocking to the region after other discoveries in the territorial waters of Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt. Ever larger finds in the Mediterranean Sea’s Levant Basin such as the Leviathan gas field in 2010 and Zohr in 2015, have the potential to transform the strategic importance of the region.Speaking of difficult relations, the wannabe sultan in Ankara seems to be making a few moves all at once. If he can depose MbS in Saudia he might be able to go back to pre-1744 empire. He seems to think that he'll end up with all of Cyprus and he's playing the EU for serious money.
urkey’s energy hub ambitions
Few states in the world are geographically so well positioned as Turkey. The country controls Russia’s only warm water port in the Black Sea and serves as a bridge between east and west. Therefore, during the Cold War Ankara was an indispensable member of NATO. More recently, Turkey has the ambition to become an energy hub for Middle Eastern and Caspian energy. Ankara has had mixed successes in attracting investors and maintaining political stability.
After Israel’s significant discoveries, a U.S. backed initiative presented Turkey as an energy hub. Although a land pipeline is the cheapest option to transport gas from the Mediterranean to Europe, political developments have stalled construction. President Erdogan’s escalating public denunciations of Israel have made Jerusalem look for other options. Furthermore, relations with Europe have also been damaged which would be dependent on Turkey as a transit country.
Egypt as the regional gas hub
Egypt’s has the third largest gas reserves in Africa. Therefore, its export-oriented LNG industry came on-stream in 2004 but was shut mid-2013 due to a lack of resources. The growth of the domestic market demanded ever larger volumes, which went at the expense of exports. Instead, Egypt started importing LNG. However, the discovery of the massive Zohr gas field, the largest in the Eastern Mediterranean, has turned around the situation. Egypt imported its last shipment of LNG in September 2018.
Although relations between Egypt and Israel are far from normal, privately held companies have been able to strike a deal. Starting from the first quarter of 2019, in 10 years 64 bcm worth $10 billion will be delivered. The agreement has stirred controversy in Egypt, which until recently was exporting to Israel. However, with this deal, Cairo comes closer in becoming an energy hub.
The recent signing of another agreement, this time with Nicosia to develop a subsea pipeline from Cyprus’ Aphrodite gas field, has been another important step. Cypriot gas will be pumped 400 miles (645 kilometers) to the south to Egypt’s LNG facilities. Difficult relations with Nicosia’s northern neighbors make a pipeline to the north highly unlikely....MORE
Here's one small part of the picture from gCaptain:
Turkish Ship to Continue Exploration in Mediterranean, Energy Minister Says
The Saipem 12000 drillship pictured upon entering Cyprus waters in late December. Photo published on December 27 by Georgios Lakkotrypis, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism of the Republic of Cyprus.
A Turkish energy exploration ship will continue to operate in the Mediterranean Sea, the energy minister said on Friday, after Ankara said the navy stopped a Greek frigate from harassing the ship due to territorial disputes.
Turkey, Greece and Cyprus’s internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government have long disputed their overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the Mediterranean.
“Turkish Petroleum’s exploration ship will continue its activities in line with Turkey’s rights,” Energy Minister Fatih Donmez told reporters in the western coastal province of Izmir, referring to the state-owned oil company....MORE