Major natural gas reserves off Israel’s coast – some of which are already online – promise to redraw the geopolitical map in the Near East. The Washington Post colorfully explains:
The huge reservoirs of natural gas discovered off the coast of Israel now flowing toward shore have the potential to transform the energy-challenged country into a lean, green manufacturing machine — capable of supplying cheap, clean energy to its people, factories and vehicles for a generation… The deep-water gas fields, discovered in 2009 and 2010, will soon turn Israel into an energy exporter, putting the Jewish state in the enviable but tricky position of trying to sell billions of dollars in surplus gas to neighbors that range from cool to downright hostile. The questions are: To whom will it sell? And how?
Europe and the Arab world have both been floated as potential destinations for Israeli energy exports. Europe in particular is facing an energy crisis that analysts project will require trillions of Euros to stave off.
The discoveries are also facilitating the creation of new alliances. Israel and Cyprus have dramatically strengthened bilateral ties as a result of energy cooperation:
“We are inaugurating a new era in relations between our two countries,” Anastasiades said during a working lunch hosted by Israeli President Simon Peres in Jerusalem. “The two countries are committed to collaborating – we have historic ties and a common culture, but also a common blessing that are the hydrocarbons.”
[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Wiki Commons]