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The East Mediterranean has been witnessing an unparalleled natural resource boom since the late-2000s, when Israel, followed by Cyprus, made its first significant offshore hydrocarbon discoveries in many years. These discoveries have since proven to be substantially larger than any other resources previously explored in the East Mediterranean Sea. At the time of this writing, they consist primarily of natural gas, although liquids are expected to be discovered offshore as well, including in the potentially hydrocarbon-rich waters of Lebanon and Syria. A 2010 U.S. Geological Survey suggests the Levant basin—the area including Cyprus and Israel’s offshore zones, and the offshore and some onshore territories of Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories—could hold as much as 1.7 billion barrels of oil and up to 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, leaving as much as two-thirds of the region’s potential resource base still undiscovered.
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Mohammed El-Katiri Dr. and Laura El-Katiri Ms.,
Regionalizing East Mediterranean Gas: Energy Security, Stability, and the U.S. Role ( US Army War College Press, 2014),