Mediterranean Offshore Waters are warming- OpEd
optimism on Eastern Mediterranean offshore gas explorations may soon
face a nasty hard fact. First let’s see the latest offshore reserve
figures are emerging every day about the East Med offshore natural
gas reserves. Therefore we advise you to be cautious about the
numbers we will give here. There are 320 bcm (billion cubic meter) in
the Tamar region of Israel, 600 bcm in the Leviathan region, 130 bcm
in the Southern Cyprus Aphrodite region, and an estimated 850 bcm
natural gas reserves in the Egyptian Zohr region. Companies BP, ENI,
Exxon, Total are working in the East Mediterranean region. Let’s
keep in mind that annual Turkish import of natural gas is around
50bcm in recent years.
Naval Forces war ships, prevented drilling vessel of Italian oil
company ENI, from reaching the controversial Cypriot offshore area.
There was a pre-announced Turkish military maneuver in the area.
Ankara showed its hard attitude towards the conflict with this
intervention. Ankara states that the offshore reserves also belong to
the Turkish part of the island, and want a fair share of natural gas
environment offshore region, is now the second area of conflict
between NATO members. First conflict is in the Northern Syria. There
is no war between NATO countries. This is not allowed. But they can
always harass each other, dog fights are normal.
the other hand, geographically, due to proximity to the mainland,
easy logistical support, the overwhelming dominance of the naval and
air forces of Turkish armed forces is unquestionable.
regional political and administrative anticipations no longer depend
only on perceived threats, but also on energy reserves.
last week launched around Cyprus against gas exploration joint
venture of French Total- Italian ENI, Turkey has stepped up military
activities in the region.
Egyptian-Turkish dispute continues on the other side of the Eastern
Mediterranean region. Cairo put its weight on the side of Nicosia
because of the Turkish statements of the Muslim Brotherhood and
military activities that began in Syria and on the Horn of Africa.
The Egyptian Foreign Minister said that not only the Cyprus offshore
gas exploration projects, but the maritime trade agreement with the
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Cyprus, 2003, applies to all.
2003, Cairo and Nicosia signed an agreement to set up an EEZ in the
Eastern Mediterranean for natural gas exploration and production at
nearby offshore sea regions. There is not yet an EEZ map agreed on
Eastern Mediterranean countries. Every country takes care of their
own interests and does not refrain from taking tough military
measures to implement them.
opposes these formations because the Turkish Cypriots demanded legal
rights and fair sharing over marine resources. Turkish Minister of
Foreign Affairs regarded the Cairo- Nicosia EEZ agreement as “null
warned neighboring countries not to violate Egypt’s sovereign
rights. South Cyprus and Egypt are supported by the European Union.
Turkey began blocking against other sea areas to the Greek and Greek
Cypriot ships. Ankara warned that international companies could lose
Ankara’s friendship. Cairo aims to further expand its overseas
production in the Zohr gas field and the latest BP offshore area.
Cairo is implementing plans to become an big LNG exporter in the East
Med region by 2020.
plans will be combined with the Cyprus-Israel offshore gas production
relations were severed at the end. Israel’s plans on the old
pipeline to export gas to Turkey. The US and EU first encouraged this
partnership. The current stance in Ankara does not allow these joint
Mediterranean easiest and cheapest transit route to European markets
is passing over Turkish mainland soon after production of offshore
gas. Other alternatives seem to be more expensive, long-term, hard
way of making Israeli gas commercially attractive is export
co-operation with Egypt. Ankara’s strategic preferences now seem to
consolidate Egyptian-Israeli ties. South Cyprus, the EU member, is
considered the gateway to Europe and therefore they have of strategic
importance. With the possibility of re-opening and possibly expanding
Egypt’s existing LNG liquefaction schemes, a new Triple Coalition
for offshore gas production may be established.
Share demand not just from Turkey – Nearby countries Lebanon and
Syria also ask to have their share.
navy is expanded forces to protect gas projects and shipping lines.
An increasing foreign threat in Lebanon will only give more emphasis
to Israel. The expansion of the Israeli navy will not only be threats
to the north, but also the threats to the Palestinian extremist Hamas
movement overseas projects.
we look at the facts in the region, there is a possible hot war.
“Eastern Mediterranean” gas futures will get harmed.
insecurity in the region or possible war does not only threaten
Israel or Lebanon, but it also spreads to other countries.
the big picture, gas operations are not the only threat.Threats and
conflicts at sea can also damage other oil transports. Offshore
region may face complete military conflict involving
Israel-Cyprus-Lebanon area, from Ceyhan (Turkey) to block incoming
oil transit lines.
the same time, in a direct conflict between Cyprus and Turkey, will
also direct transit routes through the Strait threatening Greeks.
can threaten the transportation volume between 1.6 million bpd (BTC
pipeline) and 2.9 million bpd (Bosphorus).
is not much that the US and Europe can do for now.
rational fair share of natural gas reserves between nearby countries,
a permanent solution is not possible to accept in the Eastern
March 6, 2018
Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department
(1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV
companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail
design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power
plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy
analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software
expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities
and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber
of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.
article is written for "EurasiaReview" web site release.