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Water in the Mediterranean gas


Gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean are causing increasing friction between Turkey and its neighbours.



Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and Cyprus are fighting over the gas deposits in a very prolific area (DR map)
Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and Cyprus are fighting over the gas deposits in a very prolific area (DR map)
MEDITERRANEAN. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is once again under fire from his neighbours. This time it is not about Syria, but about the exploitation of gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey signed an agreement with Libya on 27 November 2019 delimiting their respective maritime borders. The text does not take into account international law or the claims of other countries.

The two signatories share a gas-rich area and enclose Greek, Cypriot, Israeli, Lebanese and Egyptian gas fields. The agreement makes the EastMed pipeline project, which is supposed to supply Europe with gas from the eastern Mediterranean, extremely fragile. Once the agreement has been ratified by its parliament, Turkey announced that it would communicate to the UN the limits of its new exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which according to the Turkish press would increase by 30%.

The Cypriot government denounced "a serious violation of international law which infringes the legal rights of the Republic of Cyprus or those of other coastal states".

Greece threatened on Monday 3 November to expel the Libyan ambassador. It has taken the dispute to the ongoing COP25 and Nato summit. "With its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey is undermining the EU's efforts to combat climate change," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis complained to a meeting of EU leaders at COP25. Greece is asking for support from Europe and NATO on this issue.

In response, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday (Tuesday 4 November) that he refused to discuss the maritime delimitation agreement with Libya, saying it was a matter of "Libyan and Turkish sovereign rights. "Greece can take measures, we also have the right to take measures. We will do what is necessary.

Everyone is advancing his or her pawns

These serious rifts come at a time when Israel has just announced that it will start exporting gas to Egypt and Jordan in January 2020, for an estimated amount of 25 billion dollars over ten years.

In November 2019, Cyprus signed the first gas licence, worth $9.3 billion, with Shell, Noble and Delek. The three companies can therefore theoretically work on the Aphrodite gas field, whose reserves are estimated at 113 billion cubic metres of gas. ExxonMobil, Qatar Petroleum, ENI and Total are conducting exploration missions in Cypriot waters, despite threats of intervention from the Turkish navy. Ankara claims the area and has also started drilling.

 

Gérard Tur


Wednesday, December 4th 2019



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