among the parties concerned. Te Republic o Cyprus,urkey, Israel, and Lebanon have staked claims, some o which conict.Te situation is urther complicated by the division o Cyprus. Recent energy discoveries have added anothercontentious issue to eorts to nd a comprehensivesolution to the Cyprus question. Any escalation o conict over resources would cast a shadow over urkey’saltering EU accession process. Troughout the region,the question o ownership o resources and the demarca-tion o maritime boundaries has become an additionalsource o tension, shaping new alliances and ueling oldconicts.
Egypt was the rst country in the region to begin todevelop its gas reserves early in the 20
century. It is nowan important source o gas or Israel and Jordan, thoughsupplies are requently interrupted. A gas eld wasdiscovered o the coast o Gaza over a decade ago. Butit has not been developed because neither Israel nor thePalestinian Authority is ready to give its approval undercurrent political circumstances.Te stakes are high: according to the 2010 U.S. GeologicalSurvey (USGS), the Levant Basin Province (stretchingrom the Jordan River out to sea rom Israel, the WestBank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria) may contain 122 trillioncubic eet (tc) o recoverable gas, equivalent to a year’sannual global consumption, and 1.7 billion barrels o recoverable oil (worldwide consumption o petroleumwas about 31 billion barrels in 2008). Te amounts o gaslikely to become available will not change Europe’s overallenergy balance signicantly but could raise importantstrategic and energy issues or the United States, the EU,and certain o its member states.A new phase o exploration in the Mediterranean Seastarted in 1998 o the coast o Israel. Since then, therehave been considerable discoveries, notably by the U.S.company Noble Energy.In 2004, production started at the small Mari-B eld, therst oshore natural gas production acility in Israel. Teamar eld was discovered in 2009, the world’s largestdeep water natural gas discovery o the year, with anestimated 9 tc o reserves. A very large gas eld, Levia-than, was discovered at the end o 2010, with estimatedresources o 17 tc. Israel’s latest discovery at anin (1.2tc) was announced on February 4, 2012. In 2011, NobleEnergy announced a discovery o the coast o Cyprus(‘Block 12’), located 34 kilometers west o Leviathan, withestimated resources o 7 tc.Mari-B is the only eld under production at present,providing gas or the Israeli market. Recently, suppliesrom this eld have begun to dwindle. Noa, a nearby eld, is being developed and expected to be ready orproduction by September 2012. Development drilling atamar is underway, but the ow rom this eld will notbegin until key investment decisions have been taken.Te Cypriot government has announced a second roundo tenders or 12 oshore blocks, which could hold a total100 tc o natural gas as well as considerable quantities o oil. It is expected that signicant reserves will be oundo the coast o Lebanon and, perhaps, Syria. Lebanon,however, has been slow to begin the process leading tothe granting o licenses or exploration and production.
Lebanon contests the maritime boundary agreementconcluded by Cyprus and Israel in 2010, delimitatingthe two countries’ EEZs. Lebanon considers that thezone attributed to Israel absorbs part o its own EEZ. Adisputed area covering 850 square kilometers may wellcontain considerable resources. In September 2010,Lebanon submitted an outline o its southern maritimeboundary with Israel and its southwestern boundary withCyprus to the UN Secretary-General. Israel responded by proposing its own line, 17 kilometers north o Lebanon’sclaim. Israel has demanded that any eorts by the UN toresolve the issue should also include the Lebanon-Israelland border, a demand that Lebanon rejects.In present circumstances, it appears unlikely that the twoparties, who are in a state o war with each other, wouldaccept mediation under UN auspices. It would requiremuch diplomatic ingenuity and political will to nd away to resolve this dispute through third party media-tion. Current drilling in the Israeli EEZ does not involveblocks that overlap the disputed area, and Lebanon hasyet to issue licenses or exploration. Nonetheless, thisdispute has the potential to provide another source o tension between the two neighbors.
urkey also challenges the maritime boundary agreementbetween Israel and Cyprus. In response to the signing o the agreement in 2010, urkey declared that the govern-ment o the Republic o Cyprus should not sign interna-tional agreements or start exploratory drilling without a