by Nafeez Ahmed
A new report by the US Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute emphasises the
need for "US security and military support" to its key allies in the Eastern
Mediterranean, particularly Israel, over access to recent vast discoveries of regional
oil and gas. . . .
Since 2000, the Levant basin - an area encompassing the offshore territories of Israel,
Palestine, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon - has been estimated to hold as
much as 1.7 bn barrels of oil and up to 122 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas. As
much of the region's potential resources remain undiscovered, geologists believe this
could be just a third of the total quantities of fossil fuels in the Levant.
The new US Army report argues that these hydrocarbon discoveries are of "tremendous
economic and geostrategic significance," not just for its allies, but for the United
States itself. Israel especially stands to "gain considerably from their newly
discovered gas wealth" in terms of cost-effective energy for domestic consumption and
revenues from gas exports. . . .
The Army report also reveals that Syria could hold significant offshore oil and gas
potential. In 2007, before the outbreak of hostilities, President Bashar al-Assad
launched a first bidding round to secure investment into new exploration efforts, and
another in 2012 that was cancelled due to deteriorating security conditions.
"Once the Syria conflict is resolved, prospects for Syrian offshore production -
provided commercial resources are found - are high," observes the report. . . .
The report also mentions significant gas finds in the offshore territories of Lebanon
and Palestine, including the Gaza Marine, which holds over 1 tcf - production of which
has been "obstruction by Israel over concerns regarding the flow of revenues to
Palestinian stakeholders." But in addition to the Gaza Marine, "Palestinian offshore
territories near Gaza are believed to hold substantial hydrocarbon potential," . . .
Nafeez Ahmed PhD, an investigative journalist, international security scholar, is a
winner of the Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism. He has
also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign
Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New
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["We are gathered here today because we are completely against Jordan buying gas from
Israel. It's actually not Israeli gas, it's actually Palestinian gas that has been
stolen by Israel,"--"Jordan-Israel gas deal fuels protest in Amman," euronews.com, March 6, 2015]
[Egypt signed a landmark $12bn deal with British Petroleum (BP) to develop the country's
offshore natural gas resources.
. . . the latest Egyptian deal is part of a wider strategy to use Gaza's gas to
mollify Arab public opinion and consolidate Arab energy dependence on Israel.--Nafeez
Ahmed, "How Blair's Egyptian Gas Gambit Advances the
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