Multibillion dollar gas discoveries could redesign Eastern Mediterranean

Major oil and gas companies have descended on the Eastern Mediterranean hoping to repeat several massive gas discoveries of recent years.

The rush began in 2015 when Italy’s ENI discovered the Zohr gas field, located in Egypt’s offshore territory. The estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in this reservoir is worth up to $375 billion, making it the largest and most valuable discovery in the history of the Mediterranean.

The Zohr field outdid the hitherto largest gas reservoir, the Leviathan field located in Israel, which has an estimated reserve of 16 trillion cubic field, or approximately $200 billion worth of natural gas.

The massive deepwater gas fields in this region have since given way to a legion of companies that are betting more natural gas awaits to be exhumed within Cyprus’ maritime territory, which holds borders with both the Zohr and Leviathan fields.

To date, Cyprus has located 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (worth $87.5 billion) in the Leviathan-neighboring Aphrodite field, and is in the process of opening up exploration across blocks that share the same seamount with Zohr.

Large discoveries of gas reserves in Cyprus’ territory could bring about peace to the long-held division of the island, as Turkey would be more pliable to settling a peace accord if it would guarantee an opportunity to shift away from reliance on Russian gas.

Already, Israel is viewing the natural gas boom as a political watershed moment that could thaw tensions in the region as energy security takes over as top priority.