No EEZ Solution: The Politics of Oil and Gas in the Eastern Mediterranean

By Stocker, James | The Middle East Journal, Autumn 2012 | Go to article overview

No EEZ Solution: The Politics of Oil and Gas in the Eastern Mediterranean


Stocker, James, The Middle East Journal


The discovery of oil and natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean Sea has the potential to exacerbate conflicts in the area. There are many possible ways to prevent this from happening, but each requires the states of the region to cooperate, which is unlikely for numerous reasons. This article reviews the various conflicts that have emerged or are emerging over this issue and suggests possible solutions.

Since the 1990s, the hydrocarbon resources of the eastern Mediterranean Sea have greatly increased in importance. Advances in seismic search and drilling technology, as well as rising energy prices, have led to massive exploration and significant finds of oil and especially natural gas. Recent discoveries have made clear that this region stands to become one of the world's most important sources of natural gas over the next half-century. An oft-cited US Geological Survey report estimated that the area beneath this region's ocean floor contains at least 122 trillion standard cubic feet (tscf) of natural gas.1 These vast reserves will serve as a source of energy not just for residents of the region but potentially for those of Europe and other areas.

With these discoveries has come a significant rise in tensions between the countries in this area. Existing feuds, including the Turkish-Cypriot dispute and the Arab-Israeli conflict, have become more heated over the past few years. Previously warm Israeli-Turkish relations have cooled since 2009 amidst a series of crises in their bilateral relations. The inter-state relations in the region have been further complicated by the wave of revolutions that has swept across the Arab world since early 2011, overturning several governments. Although none of these issues was caused by the new discoveries, the resources present in this region have the potential to exacerbate these conflicts as countries argue over the ownership and distribution of the gas and oil, the value of which will certainly be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

At least initially, few seemed to consider the oil and gas resources scattered across the area as a regional problem due to a combination of factors. New reserves have been found in several different geological areas in the Mediterranean, including the Nile Basin, the Levant Basin, and the Cyprus Basin, which means that countries are contesting many different sources of resources, rather than one giant oil and gas field. The lack of diplomatic relations between states such as Lebanon and Israel, and strained relations between pairs of countries such as Egypt-Israel, Turkey-Cyprus, and Greece-Turkey, have long kept this group of countries from acting as a single region. Thus, although there is an increasing tendency to write about the conflict from a broader regional perspective, many of the media reports on, and academic studies of, this issue have been written from a narrow, nationalist perspective or have focused on the needs of one country alone.2

This article argues that the increasing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean are best understood as a part of a developing regional conflict over resources.3 Although wars in the Middle East have long been connected to the presence of natural resources, recent events represent a new development in this area. During the first decades of the Arab-Israeli conflict, oil and gas revenues from the Gulf states and North Africa funded militaries and militant groups throughout the region. On certain occasions, such as the 1991 Gulf War, the conflict concerned resources overtly, but in other cases it was only a contributing factor.4 These new oil and gas reserves have the potential to serve the former function. In other words, these resources may be the object of future conflicts, rather than simply a means to their continuation.

This article makes a contribution to the study of the issue by discussing the possibilities for both conflict and cooperation in the region, arguing that the evolution of the situation will reflect how countries balance their economic interests with the sensitive political issues that are upsetting the region's inter-state relations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

No EEZ Solution: The Politics of Oil and Gas in the Eastern Mediterranean
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.