ince 2009, numerous big natural gas discoveries have changed the economic reality in the Eastern Mediterranean region. While Egypt, Israel and Cyprus have now a great potential to become important gas exporters, Lebanon is still waiting its Holy Grail.
The Tamar Field and the larger Leviathan Field made Israel a key regional player in the natural gas market. There are numerous potential buyers for the newly discovered Israeli gas, like neighbouring Egypt. While importations from Israel are largely unpopular among Egyptian citizens, private Egyptian companies have already begun to negotiate deals with Noble Energy, the US firm that discovered the Leviathan Field, to import Israeli gas. Jordan and Turkey are also expected buyers.
Israel wants to transport its gas through direct pipelines, but tankers crossing the Mediterranean are the most credible mean at the moment. On the other hand, US firm Noble Energy discovered the Aphrodite Field in Cyprus in late 2011 and Italian firm Eni found the big Zohr Field in Egypt in 2015. As for Lebanon, no major steps toward the development of the energy resources were made, but the country has recently begun offshore energy search in a block disputed by Israel.
Egypt is the other big winner of the recent gas discoveries in the Mediterranean
2018 has been a turning point for the energy in Egypt. The country announced it will no longer import gas. Egypt’s production will cover its daily consumption of 6 billion cubic feet of gas, thanks to major discoveries in the Mediterranean Sea, including Al Zohr gas field which began production at the end of 2017, with reserves of about 30 trillion cubic feet. 60% of the gas production goes into producing electricity for households and supporting the industrial sector.
Gas consumption is increasing at an annual rate of 7% but the government is not worried. It has announced the discovery of another gas field called Nour, which could be one of the largest of the world with an estimated reserve of 90 trillion cubic feet. The government also signed a 15 billion dollar deal with Israel and Cyprus to transform the gas into LNG at its liquefaction plants to re-export to Europe and Africa.
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