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A Mediterranean Gas Pipeline to Europe?

A Mediterranean Gas Pipeline to Europe? (Andriy Markov / Shutterstock)

In what a student of military history might see as a smaller version of The Great Game, the discovery of various prodigious gas fields in the Mediterranean has spawned at atmosphere of distrust and outright hostility between the regional powers vying for influence and economic benefit.

At stake are what the U.S. Geological Survey estimates is 3.5 trillion cubic meters of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil under the Mediterranean seabed. Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Turkey all have their fingers in the hydrocarbon pot and all seem to be waging a zero - sum contest which has strategic implications extending far beyond the middle sea.

Turkey has ongoing conflicts of interest with most if not all of the remaining powers in the region. Given Turkish Cypriots on Cyprus the Turks have a legitimate role to play and they have proposed that they equitably cooperate with their Greek brethren so that all sides can grow and prosper.

Sounds good in principle, but reality is a bit different, as Greece, Cyprus and Israel are collaborating on a 2000-km gas pipeline to Europe which, in the present rendering, would exclude the Turks. Moreover, the above three countries are growing ever closer to Egypt and Egypt is offering its gas processing facilities for Cypriot gas before it finds its way to Europe in the foreseeable future.

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