The Eastern Mediterranean is one of the most important areas in the World at the moment. Because of the crisis in Syria, many see the East Med as fault line. Less widely reported is the offshore gas and oil being developed by Cyprus and Israel. Both Cyprus and Israel have turned to Noble, the US offshore specialist for the first stage of the program but other multi-national companies like French energy giant Total are also in the game. For the moment, the Russian giant GasProm seems to be playing a waiting game.
Personally, I am an optimist and believe that the development of offshore gas and oil in the Eastern Med will transform the economies of countries like Cyprus and Israel.
Things are really tough for Cyprus right now because Cyprus had to take an onerous financial bailout from the troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Because of the draconian terms, which the Cyprus President is now trying to renegotiate, Cyprus will probably suffer austerity as severe as in Greece, if not worse. However, Cyprus has offshore gas and oil which has, so far, not been recognized by the troika.
Over the next twelve months, Cyprus must secure billions of dollars of finance to construct its gas processing plant. With enough offshore gas to cater for forty percent of Europe’s requirements, the Eastern Med will continue to be a geopolitical hot-spot. Sadly, the European Commission seems to be pursuing its own narrow agenda at the moment and is not effectively focused on strategic developments in Europe. I suspect that many multi-nationals and European governments are following developments closely; there will be rich economic pickings but there will be political strings too.