Turkey and Israel about to change the Cyprus gas game?

March 26, 2013
Turkey and Israel about to change the Cyprus gas game?(CM).By Stefanos Evripidou (other) Apart from removing Turkish objections to Israeli participation in NATO exercises, the prospect of reconciliation has also “removed a big obstacle to collaboration over the development of strategic energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean”, reported the Financial Times (FT) yesterday.

The London-based paper noted that improved ties between Turkey and Israel could also affect Cyprus should greater energy cooperation result in Nicosia getting sidelined. A Turkish official told FT that reconciliation also made a possible gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey a “much more viable” idea.

The latest opinion of an advisory committee of the Israeli government is that if gas should be exported, it will have to go through Israel first. A Cypriot diplomatic source told the Cyprus Mail that reports suggest Turkey is seriously considering a pipeline between Israel and Ceyhan. “This could very well be a game-changer. There is much more (to the apology) than meets the eye,” he said.

Matthew Bryza, a former US ambassador to Azerbaijan, was quoted by FT saying that without Israel to provide economies of scale, “in the short term the Cypriots lose their ability to do a pipeline or an LNG (liquefied natural gas) option”, adding that in the longer run a Cypriot pipeline to Turkey would make most commercial sense.

According to FT, Noble Energy and Delek Energy, who are the main investors in Israel’s large offshore natural gas fields- as well as partners in Cyprus’ Block 12- have in recent weeks “sounded out possible customers in energy-hungry Turkey”. The paper noted that until now, the private sector was eager to proceed with a possible pipeline between Israel and Turkey but that the political rift between the two governments did not allow progress to be made. (MORE)

Egypt making a power play to screw Israel in the Mediterranean?

March 7, 2013

(h/t JE)(EOZ)There was a somewhat cryptic article in Egypt Independent today:

The Shura Council’s legislative committee approved a draft law submitted Wednesday cancelling current maritime borders of an economic zone between Egypt and Cyprus.
The proposed bill was submitted by MP Khaled Abdel Qader Ouda, who said the agreement was signed by Cyprus and Israel in February 2003.
He said this invalidates the deal since Egypt had the right to be present at the signing, according to international agreements.
Ouda argues that the renegotiation could mean billions of dollars for Egypt.
The draft law calls for the creation of new borders surrounding the economic zone in the presence of Turkey as a third party.

Apparently, Ouda is referring to the Egypt/Cyprus EEZ agreement of 2003, which states:

If either of the two Parties is engaged in negotiations aimed at the delimitation of its exclusive economic zone with another State, that Party, before reaching a final agreement with the other State, shall notify and consult the other Party, if such delimitation is in connection with coordinates 1 or 8.

Egypt apparently is claiming that the 2010 Israel/Cyprus EEZ agreement is subject to Egypt’s approval, and Egypt is (retroactively?) disapproving it.
Coordinate 8 in the Egypt/Cyprus agreement happens to be coordinate 12 in the Israel/Cyprus agreement,32º 53′ 20″ latitude and 32º 58′ 20″ longitude, seen here:

Lebanon has also challenged the Israel/Cyprus agreement. 
But if Egypt is trying to bring Turkey into this, to carve up the areas now assigned to Israel and Cyprus, it might really turn into a mess. 
This is worth watching.

How can Egypt retroactively disapprove something three years ago? Throwing financial aid at Egypt when they behave hostile is a very bad idea.

Israel Discovers New Giant Off-Shore Oil and Gas Field.

June 3, 2012

I hope this is true… in three years this would be awesome…(Other News) Israel Discovers New Giant Off-Shore Oil and Gas Field.(INN).An Israel energy company announced Sunday it has discovered an off-shore energy field that may even surpass previous finds in terms of the possibilities of developing commercial grade oil. Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP announced that its Pelagic licenses indicate 6.7 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas and 1.4 billion barrels of oil. By comparison, the previously announced Tamar and Leviathan off-shore fields contain an estimated 9 and 17 TCF of natural gas. The amount of commercial oil, if any, has not been finalized, but estimates of possible oil in the Leviathan field have been downsized to 600 million barrels. Discoveries of oil and gas have made outdated the old joke that Moses took the wrong turn from Egypt, leading Israel to sand and leaving oil for the Arabs. After being chased by Pharaoh to the edge of the “Sea of Reeds,” which often if not correctly is called the Red Sea, Moses asked Heaven to save them, and He replied to step into the sea, which then was split by winds, allowing the Jews to cross and then burying the army of Pharaoh when it followed. Stepping into the sea now can be seen in retrospect as a sign of the treasures buried under the sea. “The quantity of gas discovered in the licenses, and the high probabilities, make it the third largest offshore discovery to date,” according to Israel Opportunity chairman Ronny Halman, quoted by Globes. He added, ”This quantity guarantees Israel’s energy future for decades, and makes it possible to export Israeli gas, and boost the state’s revenues without worrying about gas reserves for domestic consumption.”The new discoveries make it more certain of a virtual revolution in the Israeli economy, with anticipation that Israel will be energy self-sufficient in three years and soon after will be able to export gas and possibly even oil.Read the full story here.

Hezbullah threatens Israel over maritime borders

July 14, 2011
…Naim Qassem…

…Hezbollah on Wednesday issued a stark warning to Jerusalem, vowing to protect its maritime rights against “Israeli threats.” Lebanon has a real interest in developing potential fields and a possible confrontation with Israel will not assist in obtaining the energy independence it is seeking. Analyzing Lebanese declarations, it is clear that the Lebanese have chosen first to seek a diplomatic solution either through the UN apparatus or through international courts and bodies of arbitration that specialized in those disputes. It comes as no surprise, however, that the sudden interest in the potential fossil-fuel wealth off the Israeli and Lebanese coastlines has turned the Mediterranean into a potential theater of confrontation between Israel and Hizbullah. The Lebanese group already boasts an amphibious warfare unit trained in underwater sabotage and coastal infiltration. Hizbullah’s ability to target shipping – and possibly offshore oil and gas platforms – was exposed in the war with Israel in 2006 when Hizbullah came close to sinking an Israeli missile boat with an Iranian version of the Chinese C-802 missile. Hizbullah fighters have since hinted that they have acquired larger anti-ship missiles with double the 72-mile (116 km.) range of the C-802 variant.

Terrorists Try To Blow Up Egyptian-Israel Gas Pipeline

March 27, 2011

Six terrorists, reportedly Bedouin, tried to blow up the Egyptian-Israeli gas pipeline Sunday for the second time in two months. The timer failed to detonate the explosives, preventing a huge economic and political crisis.

Six terrorists overwhelmed a lone guard at the El-Sabil gas terminal, planted the bomb and fled, despite the recent deployment of hundreds of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai.

“They failed to detonate the bombs and fled the scene. Even the security guard was missing when police arrived, according to the French news agency AFP.

Unofficial reports said the terrorists were Bedouin from the Sinai Peninsula. Bedouin have placed themselves as the rulers in several parts of the region since the uprising against then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Bedouin have also been increasingly active in cooperating with Hamas, helping its terrorists in carrying out attacks against Israel.

An explosion at another gas terminal in early February disrupted the flow of gas to Israel until last week. Egypt originally said the blast in February was an accident, but later admitted it was the result of a terrorist attack during the uprising.

Several media reports have indicated that Egypt delayed resumption of the gas supply and has decreased the amounts of gas in order to pressure for a higher price than called for in the original agreement. The new interim Egyptian military government is considered to be even more anti-Israeli than the regime of Mubarak, who refused to visit Jerusalem despite the peace treaty signed in 1979.

His lone appearance in the capital was for the funeral of former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

Egypt supplies Israel with 40 percent of its natural gas, but recent discoveries of natural gas off Israel’s Mediterranean Coast are expected to transform Israel into an exporter of energy in several years.

SOURCE: Arutz Sheva via thejidf.org

Bibi is against Israeli Nuclear Civilian Energy

March 21, 2011
[The situation in Japan] certainly caused me to reconsider the projects of building civil nuclear power plants,” said Netanyahu. “I have to tell you I was a lot more enthusiastic about it than I am now. In fact, you’d have to give me a very good argument to do it. And fortunately we found natural gas… So, I think we’ll go for the gas. I think we’ll skip the nuclear.

When asked about whether he was sad to see former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leave office, Netanyahu said that “Egypt under Sadat, and then under Mubarak, kept the peace and I think that is something extraordinary valuable. And I think the first order of the day is to make sure that any future government in Egypt maintains the peace. The fact that we had these 30 years with Egypt, 20 years with Jordan, of a real peace, is something that I can appreciate.”  via israelnationalnews.com
what a horrible thing for Israel to have to reject such wealth as nuclear energy, but the Israelis will do wonders with the gas they found

Potential War over Sea Riches like Oil and Gas

November 2, 2010

The recent discoveries of massive gas fields off the coast of northern Israel, tantalizingly close to Lebanese coastal waters, has stirred cash-strapped Lebanon to accelerate efforts to begin its own oil and gas exploration.

Last year, a US-Israeli consortium discovered the Tamar gas field 55 miles off the coast of northern Israel, which contains an estimated 8.4 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas – the largest natural-gas find in the world in 2009. Earlier this year, a field called Leviathan was discovered in the same area with an initial estimate of 16 trillion cubic feet of gas.

But there are likely more untapped fields; the US Geological Survey (USGS) said in March that the Levantine Basin, which includes the territorial waters of Lebanon, Israel, Syria, and Cyprus, could hold as much as 122 trillion cubic feet of gas – and 1.7 billion barrels of oil.

According to the article, Lebanon is strapped for cash and heavily in debt–and would love to have access to these reserves, not to mention others that may be just waiting to be discovered. More to the point, it is not yet known whether the gas field extends into Lebanon’s territorial waters.
However, that question is complicated by the fact that since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Lebanon and Israel have officially been at war and so the two countries have never sat down to establish agreed upon maritime borders.
As a result, Israel might claim the “right of capture”, according to which a country can extract oil or gas from its side of the border, even if those reserves extend into the territory of another country’s territory. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea does offer guidelines for establishing maritime borders, but Israel is not a signatory to the convention. In any case, again–this would require both sides to sit down and talk.
So we are left with Lebanese officials accusing Israel of stealing Lebanese resources, while Hezbollah threatens to use its weapons to defend them.
As for the UN, how much help can they be? The “Blue Line” the UN established in 2000 was not supposed to be a legal border, but just a way to measure the pullout of Israeli troops. It has become a ‘border’ only because the two sides cannot agree on the land border either.