Mediterranean energy can foster cooperation

Israel at center of eastern Mediterranean energy strategy

Historically, energy has been a source of arguments and even wars. But with rational steps to be taken in the eastern Mediterranean, perhaps for the first time, energy will be a motivator for cooperation and security.

In light of major energy resource developments in the eastern Mediterranean, Greece, Cyprus and Israel have begun reviewing their security strategies. While continuing to discuss troubled issues in the region, the three countries are now trying to find ways of devising a cooperation framework. All three countries are focusing on Turkey, which is their sole option for shipping their energy sources via pipelines.


Summary: Greece, Cyprus and Israel are making intensive efforts to cooperate in oil production in the eastern Mediterranean, which some hope could lead to resolving political disputes.

Author Guntay Simsek Posted February 21, 2014

Translator(s)Timur Goksel

Original Article ORİJİNAL YAZIYI TÜRKÇE OKUYABİLİRSİNİZ

Contacts with Turkey and some private Turkish firms are already underway. A senior official of one of those companies told me that Israel has a clearer strategy, while Greek Cypriots are confused and still not sure what kind of role they will play. The Noble Energy-Delek partnership, which has discovered natural gas in Israel’s territorial waters, appears to have made considerable progress in planning shipment of natural gas to Europe via Turkey.


They have one barrier: political issues between Israel and Turkey. Once these two countries overcome their differences and reach an accord on Turkey’s pipelines, what remains will be to resolve the Cyprus issue to remove all barriers of natural gas discovered by Greek Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean.

Last week, I discussed with a Turkish Cypriot businessman details of his contacts with energy officials in Greek Cyprus. He said there are serious efforts by Greek Cypriots to improve relations with Turkey, and that there is a strong conviction that improving relations with Northern Cyprus and Turkey is essential to rehabilitate their crumbling economy. The discovery of new energy sources have reinforced this Greek Cypriot approach.

I must underline here that the Greek companies that are closely monitoring Turkey’s natural gas pipeline project are in this phase in touch with the US Noble Energy and Israeli Delek energy firms, and the Israeli government and companies, rather than Turkey. I learned from Greek sources that Israel is already in touch with the Zorlu, Turcas and Enka corporations in Turkey. Even more important is the involvement of US officials in these developments — more so than their energy companies.

One vital reason why Turkey, which has discovered gas in the eastern Mediterranean belatedly, is now often being mentioned is security. Turkey’s plans to procure an aircraft carrier and several other ships for its navy will contribute to balances in the eastern Mediterranean and prioritize cooperation. Israel securing its own needs for natural gas from its Leviathan field and then its plans to make money by exporting the rest will facilitate the moves toward collective security in the region.

Historically, energy has been a source of arguments and even wars. But with rational steps to be taken in the eastern Mediterranean, perhaps for the first time, energy will be a motivator for cooperation and security.

My hope is for a solution to the Cyprus issue in this context by overcoming the arguments over exclusive economic zones.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/business/2014/02/turkey-israel-cyprus-strategic-cooperation-oil-gas.html#ixzz2u8iBSzxc

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