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Key Challenges Facing the Eastern Mediterranean: The Future of Regional Energy Development

This article provides a critical overview of the key commercial, technical, legal, and political challenges the Eastern Mediterranean region faces in regard to the development of its natural gas resources and proposes possible ways to overcome them. To that aim, it first gives an up-to-date overview of the upstream developments in the region. It then discusses the challenges facing the monetization of the gas discoveries by looking at both the commercial challenges hampering exploration and field development and the technical challenges involved in exporting the gas to the immediate and distant markets. While examining the legal and political challenges related to maritime delimitation and political alignments, it highlights the role of gas. Finally, it offers some possible ways to overcome those challenges.

Key Challenges Facing the Eastern Mediterranean The Future of Regional
The first domestically built and operated drilling ship, Fatih, is pictured anchored in the port of Trabzon, Turkey, during operations in the Black Sea.
 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

The exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons resources in the Eastern Mediterranean have played an important role in regional dynamics for several reasons.1 First, the Eastern Mediterranean holds substantial natural gas potential. The total volume of discovered gas reserves in the region is similar to that of Norway. Around half of that volume, which is equivalent to Azerbaijan’s current gas reserves, was discovered in the past decade. When the assessments for undiscovered resources are also considered, the region’s total gas potential is equivalent to that of the North Sea, making the Eastern Mediterranean region an exciting exploration frontier.

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