Energy for peace? Gas discoveries in the Mediterranean

The issue of energy is among the main topic of the fourth edition of MED. The topic will be discussed in a targeted session of the Event by leading experts, entrepreneurs and politicians. Within this framework, MED 2018 focuses on prospects of energetic extraction in the eastern Mediterranean.

 

In the Eastern Mediterranean, a great geopolitical game over natural gas has begun. Gas discoveries in the region are radically changing the economic and energetic relations of the involved countries, drawing new interests of external powers in the area. The ENI-discovered gas deposit Zohr and possibly Nour, off the coast of Egypt, will probably transform the country from a net importer to a self-sufficient producer. In the meantime, a critical agreement (15 billion dollars) to export gas from Israel to Egypt has recently been signed, strengthening the economic and political ties between the two countries. The significant offshore and gas deposits could result – in the medium and long-term – in a factor of stability for the region. For example, it might strengthen diplomatic relations and economic cooperation between Israel – which owns substantial gas deposits in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) – and its neighbouring partners. The European Union is also progressively considering the Eastern Mediterranean as a potential strategic gas hub to diversify its energetic import. A pipeline connecting the Eastern Mediterranean deposits and Italy – operational no earlier than 2025 – is expected to reach a capacity up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas. Nonetheless, overlapping disputes to control the energy resources between regional countries, in particular between Turkey and Cyprus, could complicate the development of the energy projects in the area.