The discovery of natural gas resources in the East Mediterranean promise important benefits of energy security and economic gains. A 2010 US geological survey showed that the Levantine basin – offshore Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Greece and Cyprus – could hold as much as 120 trillion cubic feet, thus securing supply of energy not only for the countries of the region but also for Europe.
Regional countries are currently at various stages of exploration and development which are however fraught by political risks and policy dilemmas. As this anthology will show, East Mediterranean gas resources can promote cooperation, resolve regional conflicts, and deliver financial benefits. Energy resources are particularly examined in the context of their potential contribution to the economic development of Israel, Greece, and Cyprus; the advancement of Jordan and Turkey’s energy security; as well as new prospects for Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.
Political agreements are also deemed as an important prerequisite to gain access to promising natural gas fields in the East Mediterranean. The main challenge however lies on what lasting effects political agreements could have on areas of conflict. Thus cooperation and the creation of interdependency structures are prerequisites to unlock the potential of the region and safeguard the unimpeded flow of future gas production.
A collection of works that originally appeared in Modern Diplomacy, a European Opinion Maker with Hellenic and US Editions, are presented in a way denoting that gas discoveries have the potential not only to transform the energy outlook of individual countries, but also important provide a golden opportunity for energy security. This opportunity must not be neglected because as it is aptly highlighted in an Arabian proverb “three things come not back; the spoken word, the sped arrow, and the neglected opportunity”. It is in this spirit that this anthology urges coordination of energy policies and the sharing of best practices so that the opportunity is not neglected.