Energy Resources in the Eastern Mediterranean: Source for Cooperation or Fuel for Tension
The discovery of large gas fields off the shores of Israel and Cyprus could bring great benefits in terms of energy security and economic gains but also geopolitical dilemmas. A number of factors complicate the situation, including the state of war between Lebanon and Israel, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the Cyprus question, and the fact that Turkey contests existing maritime boundary demarcation agreements. The exploration and development of gas reserves poses challenges in terms of infrastructure, financing, security, environmental protection, revenue sharing, and political relations among the parties concerned. The Republic of Cyprus, Turkey, Israel, and Lebanon have staked claims, some of which conflict. The EU and the United States have an interest in preventing escalation and in ensuring that new energy resources are developed for the benefit of the region as a whole.