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PENNENERGY - significant deposits already discovered in the east Mediterranean, including Israel's Leviathan field are "just the tip of the iceberg" and that "it's very likely" that more gas will be found in Cypriot waters.
Europe sees Israel and the region as an important supplier of gas to Europe
According to a development plan approved this month by the energy ministry, Leviathan's three anchor customers for its phase 1 development are expected to be the domestic Israeli market, the Jordanian power company Nepco and the Egyptian consortium Dolphinus Holdings, which was supposed to purchase gas from Tamar last year in a deal that has not materialized.
Leviathan, one of the largest offshore discoveries of the past decade, was found in the eastern Mediterranean in 2010 and has been mostly earmarked for exports.
Putin's interest in Israeli gas is neither secret nor new. In 2012 Russia's Gazprom discussed the possible purchase of a 30% stake in Israel's offshore Leviathan gas field. In 2013 Gazprom signed a contract to purchase much of the Tamar gas field's production but the contract wasn’t approved by Israel's Energy Ministry.
Critics said the deal gave too much profit to corporations at the public's expense. The court opposed a clause that would prevent Israel from making significant regulatory changes for the next ten years.
Israel and Russia are about to agree upon a modus operandi in the East Mediterranean concerning weapons and natural gas deals, several Israeli media reports indicate. According to various assessments, the bottom line of such an agreement would be that Israel will not sell natural gas to Turkey and, in return, Russia won't supply S-300 anti-aircraft missiles and other advanced weapon systems to Iran and other regional enemies of Israel.
“The regional potential is being realised, and the Israeli gas discoveries look to play a key role in shaping the regional energy market,” said Yossi Abu, chief executive of Delek Drilling, in a statement announcing the Egyptian agreement. “The deal with Dolphinus is further proof of the political and economic benefits that may be derived through regional co-operation between states and energy companies.”
Discoveries of natural gas offshore Israel signalled the eastern Mediterranean as a new frontier for the development of natural gas resources. The gas discoveries provide a unique opportunity for Israel to change its mentality vis-à-vis neighbouring countries and view the resources as a tool for strengthening regional cooperation and solidarity through energy diplomacy. While security concerns in Israel remain paramount, diplomacy in the context of the eastern Mediterranean transcends traditional foreign and security policy considerations, and attempts to use economic and commercial means to interlink the countries of the region through energy relations.
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