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Energy War in the Eastern Mediterranean

For discussions of events and conditions not necessarily related to Peak Oil.

Energy War in the Eastern Mediterranean

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sun 11 Mar 2018, 13:19:54

Eni, Total Make Major Gas Discovery Offshore Cyprus

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Israeli news website Globes reports the discovery could contain 170B-230B cm (6 tcf) of gas, which it believes - if proven true - could cause difficulties for the companies developing the Leviathan field offshore Israel, which include Noble Energy

In Nicosia, Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said an “extensive column” of clean natural gas was discovered.

“This is a particularly positive development because it is the second substantive discovery in the Cypriot EEZ (exclusive economic zone), which increases the reserves of Cyprus in natural gas,” Lakkotrypis said, referring to an earlier discovery of about 5 tcf in 2011.

Perched on the maritime edge of two massive gas finds in the Levant Basin - Leviathan off Israel and Zohr off Egypt, Cyprus, which still relies on heavy and expensive fuel oil for its power stations, has been keen to emulate its neighbours’ success.

Globes opines that energy giants such as Eni, which brought the giant Zohr field off Egypt up and running in a little more than two years after the initial discovery, and TOT might make Cyprus an important gas player in the region and a competitor to Israel.

... But it also lies in a region of overlapping rivalries and geopolitical risk.


Turkey Navy Forces Block Italian Drillship: Cyprus

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Five Turkish warships threatened to engage an Italian drillship Friday and forced it to turn back after it tried to break a two-week blockade off Cyprus, Cypriot officials said.

The drillship from Italy's energy giant Eni has been halted in the island's politically sensitive waters since February 9th when Turkish warships stopped it from heading to explore in a contentious area, claiming they were conducting manoeuvres.

Government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos told the Cyprus News Agency that as the rig tried to make progress again Friday "it was blocked by five Turkish warships, and after threats to use force and engage with the drillship...it was forced to turn back".
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned foreign energy companies not to "overstep the mark" in disputed waters off the coast of the divided island.

The drillship has now headed to the Cypriot port of Limassol and will likely spend several days there before sailing to fulfil contractual obligations in Morocco, Lakkotrypis told the Cyprus News Agency.


U.S. Boosts Naval Presence as Exxon Explores Off Cyprus

A $60 million dollar/day 'gift' to Tillerson's 'old friends' at taxpayers expense.

The United States is increasing its naval presence in the Mediterranean as oil giant ExxonMobil sends two exploration vessels to the waters off Cyprus where Turkey last month blocked an Italian ship from looking for new gas deposits.

The Iwo Jima amphibious strike group, including three amphibious ships and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit comprising 2,500 U.S. Marines, entered Sixth Fleet operations, which are based in Naples, Italy, on Feb. 21, the U.S. navy said in a statement.

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The U.S. Navy has five ships, including one command and control ship and four Arleigh Burke Class destroyers, permanently deployed in the Mediterranean.

U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil is to send two surveying vessels, which are expected to arrive in Block 10 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Monday.

The US naval group and its amphibious USS Iwo Jima flagship will, in collaboration with Israeli forces, conduct a population evacuation exercise Wednesday.

It will also include the USS New York and USS Oak Hill and will last until March 18 in a region stretching from northern Israel to southern Cyprus. The three American ships are expected to remain in the area until at least March 25, which means their presence in the region around the island’s EEZ – along with that of the Israeli Navy – will coincide for around two weeks with Noble’s hydrocarbon exploration in Block 10.

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Turkey Boosts Presence In Cyprus EEZ, Stoking Tension

... Ahead of exploration activities by American oil giant Exxon, which started on Sunday and run through April 20, Turkish authorities have boosted their presence in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), dispatching the frigate Barbaros and three corvettes.

Meanwhile a joint military exercise between the US and Israel is under way the region. And the increased activity in the area is being closely watched by Russia, which has a nuclear-powered submarine in the eastern Mediterranean.

According to well-informed sources, the task group of the amphibious USS Iwo Jima, which is involved in the joint exercise with Israel, is also monitoring Russia’s activity in the area.

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Turkey's Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said yesterday that Turkey has received confirmation that an ExxonMobil vessel was heading toward the Eastern Mediterranean for oil and gas exploration. He added that Ankara would continue to preserve its legal rights to hydrocarbon explorations in the region.
... "All kinds of hydrocarbon resources around the island of Cyprus are the common property of all people living on the island, in the north, or in the south. Therefore, activities that are unilaterally initiated around the region are never welcomed by us."

- Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım

"If an authority is sought for permission for the extraction of the resources on the island, it is the people of both Turkish and Greek Cyprus. Any project in which these two parties do not agree is regarded as an attempt to violate the sovereign rights of the TRNC and as a threat to us. It does not matter who made it," Yıldırım added.


More Ships Travel to Tense Cypriot Waters

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Turkish Cypriots Vow to Launch Gas Search Unless Greek Side Pulls Back

... “Either we will do it together - by discussing, agreeing and moving together - or things will stop, or, we (Turkish Cypriots) will do the same thing: we will start exploiting and drilling as well,” said Kudret Ozersay, foreign minister of Northern Cyprus, a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey.

Turkey has vowed to prevent what it sees as a unilateral move by Greek Cypriots, but EU member Cyprus has shown no signs of backing down. Brussels has urged Turkey to avoid threats and refrain from actions that could damage relations with the bloc.

... “Our argument on the issue of maritime areas is not based on geography,” Ozersay said, to an observation that Cyprus has only licensed maritime exploration areas lying south of the island, where it exercises effective control, and not to the north.

“It is based on historic rights and the rights deriving from the partnership republic,” he said from his office, less than 5 km (3 miles) from a checkpoint where hundreds of Cypriots cross daily between the two sides. According to Ozersay:
“The thing is, not only the Turkish Cypriot side, but also the international community and the Greek Cypriot side accepts and acknowledges that we are the co-owners of those hydrocarbon resources,”


ExxonMobil’s Cyprus Gas Search Could Flare U.S.-Turkey Tension

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Turkey’s blocking of an Italian gas exploration vessel off Cyprus “gunboat diplomacy” in a meeting last month on the many issues dividing the two NATO allies, and eyes will be on the eastern Mediterranean again this week as U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil sends its own drilling ship to the island and the U.S. Navy beefs up its presence in the area.

Although Tillerson’s three-and-a-half hour meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was conducted without any aides or interpreters, and with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu the only other person present, some of the talks have still made it out.

... One new issue added to the list of problems between the United States and Turkey, was the growing energy conflict over Cyprus and tensions in the Aegean.

Turkish warships twice blocked the path of an exploration vessel leased by Italian energy firm Eni off Cyprus last month, forcing it to divert. Tillerson called that “gunboat diplomacy” during meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister, the diplomatic sources said, and urged Turkey to ease the tension.

... It remains to be seen whether the Turkish Navy will attempt to block the ExxonMobil vessels in the way it did with the Eni exploration ship. That could create a new crisis between Turkey and the United States. The fact that Tillerson was CEO of ExxonMobil before becoming secretary of state adds another dimension to the diplomatic dispute.


Scramble For Gas In E. Mediterranean Stokes Regional Tensions

The Turkish navy blocking a drilling ship from exploring for gas off Cyprus ought to make international headlines, but it has gone almost unnoticed at a time of much conflict in the region. The ship has been marooned while diplomats from several European countries try to broker a solution between Turkey and Cyprus.

It is just one of a number of conflicts between Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Israel and Lebanon that have arisen since huge reserves of gas began to be discovered in the eastern Mediterranean in 2009. What started as a promising opportunity for cooperation is instead fuelling existing tensions.

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Turkey sees the eastern Mediterranean as a “Blue Homeland” for its own growth ambitions – and related concerns about domestic energy security. Worse, Turkey watches the tighter cooperation between Nicosia and more powerful neighbours like Israel, Egypt and Greece in matters as sensitive as energy with growing unease.

Relations between Turkey and Greece, the region’s oldest maritime rivalry, have also started being affected by gas politics – together with a row over Greece granting asylum to officers suspected of aiding the attempted coup in Turkey in 2015. In a separate incident to the blocking of the drilling ship, a Turkish vessel rammed a Greek ship in the Aegean earlier this month. Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias vowed to defend its maritime borders, linking the matter to Turkish activities in Cypriot waters.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late.
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vox_mundi
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