The Eastern Mediterranean is an emerging region for natural gas development, and the resources underneath the seabed hold out the promise of an economic bounty to several small countries in the area.
Some of the natural gas fields just recently began to flow, but the buzz began back in 2010 when a U.S. Geological Survey report estimated that the Eastern Mediterranean held 1.7 billion barrels of oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Known as the Levant Basin Province, the natural gas deposits stretch from the waters just off the coast of Israel, north to Lebanese and Syrian waters, and westwards to Cyprus.
Development quickly proceeded in Israeli territory shortly after the report’s publication.
The development of the Tamar field has been a major achievement for the Israeli government. Israel, not naturally blessed with domestic sources of oil and gas, has long depended on imports to meet its energy needs. But the 2009 discovery of the large Tamar field in the Mediterranean changed the country’s fortunes. Holding an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, it was Israel’s largest discovery in history at that time.
And the Tamar was not the only field in the broader Levant basin to hold prodigious volumes of natural gas. A year later, the Leviathan was discovered. It was thought to hold 16 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas (450 billion cubic meters), double the volume of the Tamar field.…