Following the publication of the Winter 2021 special issue "New Geopolitics in the Eastern Mediterranean," Insight Turkey coordinated the panel called Energy Equation in the Eastern Mediterranean as a follow-up event. The panel, which was held online due to the COVD-19 pandemic, was broadcast live on YouTube and other social media platforms.
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.
With its young population, dynamic private sector, and pivotal geographic location, Turkey is simultaneously a large energy consumer, an energy gathering and dispatching center, and an energy investor in the pan-European energy landscape. These characteristics, which make Turkey an emerging regional and global energy player, when combined with the growing gap between Turkey’s energy supply and demand, necessitate a new, comprehensive, long-term energy strategy (preferably out to 2030 or later) in which the end policy goals are clearly defined, and the ways and means to achieve those goals are described in a comprehensive and coherent manner. This article discusses the basics of formulating such a strategy. It argues that such a strategy must focus on ensuring long term energy supply at affordable costs to consumers, on Turkey’s geopolitical role in terms of regional and global energy concerns, and on fair competition and environmental challenges.