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Gas in Eastern Mediterranean: Will It Be the Game Changer

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Gas in Eastern Mediterranean: Will It Be the Game Changer

The Eastern Mediterranean Sea is witnessing an era of revolution in term of gas discoveries backed by the recent technological advancements in offshore and deepwater drilling.

A recent U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the basin holds close to 3,450 billion cubic meters (Bcm) of natural gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil. The Nile Delta Basin, in the south-east Mediterranean, situated in Egypt’s and Cyprus’s EEZ, is estimated to hold even more natural gas (6,315 Bcm) and oil (1.8 billion barrels).

Together with the Aegean Basin offshore Greece, it appears that the Eastern Mediterranean has huge oil and gas potential, and it is clear why there is worldwide interest in exploration of the region.

Israel is taking the lead in developing its natural gas discoveries. Tamar and Leviathan, fields where large deposits of natural gas have been found, will, it is sometimes claimed, supply Israel with all the energy it needs for decades to come. A claim frequently cited in the media, for example, predicts that the fields have “enough gas to supply the country for 150 years.”

The Tamar field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, estimated to hold 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas; Israel started gas production from the field in March 2013, in an effort to put the country on the road to energy independence and save a projected 1 billion shekels ($274 million) a month, according to the government. The field is being developed by a group that includes Noble Energy Inc., Delek Drilling-LP, Avner Oil Exploration LLP and Isramco Negev 2 LP.

Meanwhile, the Leviathan Field, discovered in 2010 with an estimated 19 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas, was the world's largest offshore discovery of the past decade.

"Leviathan is actually the reservoir that can potentially bring Israel to be totally independent from an energy perspective and also position Israel as an exporter of natural gas rather than importer," said Yossi Abu, chief executive of leading Israeli natural gas company, Delek Drilling.


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