Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Russia muscles in on East Med gas boom
by Staff Writers
Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Mar 8, 2013

A new deal by Russia's Gazprom energy giant to market Israeli liquefied natural gas puts Moscow firmly in the burgeoning and contentious east Mediterranean energy sector, and shows that it's again emerging as a player in the strategic region.

The 20-year LNG contract between Gazprom subsidiary Gazprom Marketing and Trading Switzerland and Levant LNG Marketing Corp. also provides a major boost for Russia's drive to rebuild its Cold War influence in the Middle East that collapsed with the demise of the Soviet Union.

The deal, signed Feb. 26, is a direct consequence of a ground-breaking visit to Israel, the United States' most valuable strategic ally in the region, by Russian President Vladimir Putin last June.

With U.S. interest in the Middle East seemingly diminishing, in part because of vast shale oil and natural gas deposits that lessen dependence on Persian Gulf oil, Putin clearly has ambitions of filling the vacuum.

"The Bill Clinton-era in the geopolitics of Caspian energy, which ran through the George W. Bush presidency, imbued with a great sense of rivalry over Russia's status as an energy powerhouse, is giving way," said veteran Indian analyst M.K. Bhadrakumar.

"This is one of the messages to be pulled from the ... 20-year deal for Israel's Tamar offshore gas field in the Mediterranean.

"Without doubt, the Tamar deal rewrites the ABC of the geopolitics of energy security," Bhadrakumar wrote in an Asia Times Online analysis.

"This is an important milestone for strengthening Gazprom's position in the global LNG market" and in particular "Gazprom's hand in the booming Asian LNG market."

The Tamar field, discovered in 2009, contains an estimated 9 trillion cubic feet of gas. Together with the smaller Dalit offshore field nearby, it constitutes the Tamar LNG Project due to be commissioned in 2017.

It's expected to produce around 3 million metric tons of LNG a year.

This will likely involve an $8 billion floating LNG terminal, probably off Cyprus, that will also funnel gas from the island's Aphrodite field, still being developed but thought to contain at least 7 tcf, for export.

Moscow's also seeking partnerships with the Greek-controlled sector of Cyprus, and has provided a three-year, $3.5 billion loan to help it avoid economic meltdown after the collapse of the Greek economy.

The Greek Cypriots have approached the Kremlin for another $5 billion and may well get it because they share the Orthodox faith.

Moscow, which has long had close banking ties with Greek Cyprus, also sees the island, divided since a 1974 Turkish invasion, as a future regional energy power, just as it does Israel.

Moscow, which has little time for the Turks who are trying to block the Greek Cypriots' gas bonanza, is thus maneuvering to get a slice of the Israel-Cyprus action.

It's clearly anticipating Israel's largest offshore field, Leviathan, with an estimated 25 tcf of gas, coming onstream in a couple of years.

But there's a wider, and infinitely richer, energy bonanza developing in the region.

Lebanon, whose waters border both those of Israel and Cyprus, is expected to start issuing tenders to international companies to explore its maritime exclusive economic zone.

Seismic surveys of its southern sector, which overlaps Israel's Leviathan, indicate reserves of at least 7 tcf, with further deposits in the north for a possible total of 25 tcf.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the Levant Basin, encompassing Syria, Lebanon. Cyprus, Israel and the Gaza Strip, contains 123 tcf of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil.

Syria's civil war is preventing seismic soundings in its waters but there's every reason to assume they contain similar-sized gas fields. Moscow's showing signs of backing off its support for President Bashar Assad, possibly with an eye on a future gas boom under a successor government.

Meantime, Russia's secured stakes in Iraq, a former Soviet client which has proven oil reserves of 143.1 billion barrels and probably as much again in explored fields.

Moscow, ever one to hedge its bets, even hosted a visit in February from Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish enclave, which sits on 45 billion barrels of oil.

If the independence-minded Kurds ever break with the federal Iraqi state, Moscow, which in the 1950s gave asylum to Barzani's father, the champion of Kurdish independence, wants access to their oil.


Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Oettinger: EU wants Norway natural gas
Brussels (UPI) Mar 8, 2013
Natural gas produced in Norway has a role to play in the European Union's low-carbon energy future, EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger assured this week. Amid warnings from Norwegian energy major Statoil that the European Union's low-carbon 2050 Energy Roadmap has created political uncertainty for further investments in natural gas infrastructure, Oettinger sought to reassure attendees a ... read more

China to use modified rocket for moon landing mission

Water On The Moon: It's Been There All Along

Building a lunar base with 3D printing

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Neptec wins contract to develop cameras for European Space Agency's ExoMars Programme

Mars rover 'sleeping' through solar storm

Curiosity Rover's Recovery on Track

NASA's Curiosity rover to be back online next week

Basketball legend Shaq talks tech at SXSW

UK and Kazakhstan agree collaboration in space

Wyle To Provide NASA Ongoing Support For Human Space Flight

Japan, US hold space cooperation talks

China's fourth space launch center to be in use in two years

China to launch new manned spacecraft

Woman expected again to join next China crew roster

China's space station will be energy-efficient

'Goody Bag' Filled With Sample Processing Supplies Arrives on Station

ESA's Columbus Biolab Facility

SpaceX set for third mission to space station

Record Number of Students Control ISS Camera

Vega launcher integration continues for its April mission

SpaceX's capsule arrives at ISS

Dragon Transporting Two ISS Experiments For AMES

SpaceX Optimistic Despite Dragon Capsule Mishap

The Birth of a Giant Planet?

Scientists spot birth of giant planet

NASA's Kepler Mission Discovers Tiny Planet System

Kepler helps astronomers find tiny exo planet

Activists fault WHO report on Fukushima radiation

SimCity climbing from launch wreckage

INRS overcomes a hurdle in the development of terahertz lasers

SSBV And zero2infinity Team Up For Airdrop Recovery

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement