Jap Mediterranean fuel discoveries, growth, and what to observe in 2023


The problem of creating export methods for the offshore herbal fuel sources concentrated within the Jap Mediterranean predates the Russo-Ukrainian warfare, which exploded in complete fury in overdue February of ultimate 12 months. But over the process 2022, Europe’s intensifying power disaster created a brand new and extra fast incentive to resolve the ones export demanding situations, in spite of quite a lot of paintings nonetheless to be accomplished.

New discoveries

The 12 months 2022 noticed a succession of recent fuel discoveries in Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt. Not one of the headline numbers yielded by means of those discoveries would have attracted consideration on par with that of the area’s greatest reveals, comparable to Egypt’s Zohr or Israel’s Leviathan box, however new reserves in proximity to present manufacturing infrastructure will fortify exports from the Jap Mediterranean. Particularly, discoveries in Cyprus additional support the island nation’s potentialities of becoming a member of its neighbors and after all changing into a fuel exporter, even though the optimum direction for exports stays unclear or can’t be pursued.

Whilst no particular person to find used to be in particular broad, jointly they’ll fortify persevered construction and manufacturing within the area as soon as attached to the present infrastructure. On the finish of 2022, a brand new discovery in Cypriot waters once more raised questions on export potentialities for its yet-undeveloped reserves. Even though the potential for piping fuel to the Ecu mainland or establishing new liquefaction capability at the island has been raised previously, present choices seem in all probability to contain a floating liquefied herbal fuel facility (FLNG), additionally into consideration in Israel, or a tie again to Egyptian LNG crops.


Key Jap Mediterranean Discoveries in 2022

Web page

Estimated measurement, in billion cubic meters (bcm)



Found out


8 bcm



Would possibly


70 bcm





7-15 bcm





13 bcm





57-84 bcm





99 bcm




Supply: Power Intelligence

New tasks greenlit, export questions stay

For the entire new hobby, diplomatic growth, and business task that came about throughout 2022, selection export pathways from Egypt’s two liquefaction crops at Idku and Damietta didn’t materialize. Ongoing debottlenecking paintings in Israel and plans for a brand new onshore pipeline will permit upper volumes to waft to Egypt, however those tasks do little to advance new levels of Leviathan construction or new sources from Cyprus, and this may increasingly stay a important house to reach growth in 2023.

Whilst a lot has been made of recent discoveries, deliberate capability expansions to Israel’s key Leviathan and Tamar fields have been additionally greenlit in 2022. Since Israel isn’t short of extra fuel and represents a fairly small call for middle first of all, it is a sure construction for exports. Certainly, the area’s confusing political and regulatory panorama has hindered global oil firms’ (IOCs) talent to company up export methods, which has in flip held again ultimate funding choices at present fields. The upstream paintings that used to be authorized for the Leviathan and Tamar fields, due to this fact, will lead to a vital enlargement of Israel’s fuel manufacturing capability over the following a number of years, along with upgrading infrastructure that can building up the viability of creating more moderen, smaller discoveries.


Diplomatic growth

The late-October settlement that settled a maritime dispute between Israel and Lebanon used to be an pressing subject because of the deliberate startup of manufacturing at Israel’s Karish box, which straddles its northern sea boundary with Lebanon. Particularly, the floating manufacturing garage and offloading (FPSO) offshore manufacturing vessel chartered/owned by means of the Greek company Energean used to be immediately threatened by means of Lebanese Hezbollah, signifying the delicate nature of offshore fuel extraction in a area the place Israel and Lebanon’s maritime demarcation dispute is some distance from the one one.

The settlement will permit offshore exploration in Lebanon to renew, with a consortium led by means of TotalEnergies making plans to drill within the first quarter of this 12 months. Importantly, the deal additionally reduces geopolitical dangers to additional construction within the area. Its marketplace affect is much less important, for now, however the answer of a big dispute between two nations that don’t have formal diplomatic ties is a certain signal of regional growth. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s resurgent top minister, has criticized the settlement previously however these days appears not going to opposite it. Doing so would inject new volatility into Israel’s upstream sector simply as it’s keeping a fourth offshore bid spherical (OBR4) that seeks to draw new buyers. Having a look forward, it’s most likely that extra such diplomatic growth shall be essential to liberate one of the vital Jap Mediterranean’s maximum optimum export routes, a prospect for which there’s little ensure.

What to observe in 2023

Bid rounds in Israel and Egypt

Israel’s OBR4 used to be formally introduced on the finish of 2022. The improvement used to be the results of a coverage U-turn at the a part of Israel’s earlier govt, as former Power Minister Karine Elharrar had introduced that plans for the bid spherical could be shelved in overdue 2021, handiest to opposite this stance after Russia’s large-scale re-invasion of Ukraine. Israel’s new govt beneath Netanyahu is extremely not going to vary those plans, and would possibly as an alternative calm down export quotas. OBR4 will supply a variety of insights in the case of IOC hobby within the Israeli upstream, which failed to draw in a supermajor like Chevron till not too long ago, when the company obtained U.S.-based Noble Power in 2020.

In within sight Egypt, some other bid spherical used to be introduced on the very finish of 2022, with 12 blocks within the Mediterranean and Nile Delta spaces on be offering. The spherical is about to stay open till April, and as with Israel, its effects will gauge IOC hobby in Egypt as task selections up within the Jap Mediterranean as soon as once more. This new task has additionally spurred IOC hobby in present discoveries up to now deemed uneconomic.

Extra drilling

Regional operators plan to proceed drilling into 2023, with discoveries from 2022 most likely producing renewed consideration. Persevered drilling can be important to creating growth on upper export volumes, which would require sufficient fuel to make sure that the Jap Mediterranean’s regional marketplace, alternatively small, stays smartly equipped. Key to conducting this shall be new provide in Egypt, by means of some distance the biggest fuel marketplace within the area. To that finish, new discoveries and plans for drilling in Egypt’s Mediterranean waters will most likely proceed to fortify those wishes, even though construction timeframes will in fact stay a important variable. But as piped fuel from Israel continues to fortify LNG exports from Egypt, new provide will make sure that imported fuel does no longer wish to be redirected to fulfill home call for.

Key Jap Mediterranean Drilling Deliberate for 2023

Web page




Deliberate Drilling

Ha’py Prospect

Eni (70%)

Energean (30%)



Qana Prospect*

TotalEnergies (35%)

Eni (35%), QatarEnergy (30%)




Chevron (35%)

Shell (35%), NewMed (30%)



Israel Marketing campaign





Northeast El Amriya Block

Shell (50%)

Petronas (50%)



West Nile Delta Marketing campaign

BP (82.75%)

Wintershall Dea (17.25%)



*Consortium partnership no longer but finalized
Supply: Power Intelligence

Attainable new export routes

For the ultimate a number of years, typical knowledge surrounding LNG exports from the area liked Egyptian liquefaction capability as probably the most viable direction. Regardless that different, extremely formidable plans were floated, mission economics are a key attention on this context, to not point out difficulties introduced by means of the area’s more than a few ongoing maritime boundary disputes. Connecting new fields to Egyptian or Israeli infrastructure that may then direct fuel to Idku or Damietta nonetheless seems to be a popular choice for IOCs, however there’s sufficient of an opportunity that new export routes may even emerge over an extended time horizon.

The possibility of choices stays unclear even after a number of years of hypothesis, alternatively; and it’s imaginable that the result of drilling campaigns deliberate for 2023 will additional modify the dynamics of this example. Israeli considerations over coastal construction make it extremely not going that new liquefaction capability shall be constructed there, even though Chevron has constantly hinted at FLNG as a definite export risk. Cyprus, whose sector is ever-complicated by means of Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot claims, has alluded to the prospective building of recent liquefaction capability if its reserves are considerably proven-up. But Cyprus’ Power Minister Natasa Pilides not too long ago said that linking Cypriot discoveries to Egyptian LNG crops does seem in all probability. It’s solely imaginable that 2023 will go with a few of these questions left unanswered, however task deliberate for this 12 months has the prospective to offer extra definitive indicators at the path by which those traits would possibly lead.

Geopolitical constraints will loom broad

Whilst the Israeli-Lebanese maritime settlement gets rid of important dangers to fuel manufacturing within the area as long as it stays in position, different diplomatic problems nonetheless stand in the best way of recent useful resource construction. Key to this trajectory shall be Turkey’s diplomatic posture in 2023, in conjunction with its makes an attempt to reach rapprochement with a number of states within the area, particularly Israel. Particularly, Turkish maritime claims in addition to the ones of the self-proclaimed (and Ankara-backed) Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are some of the major hindrances to designs for the Jap Mediterranean (EastMed) Pipeline, which for now seems extremely implausible. Regardless that diplomats have voiced fortify for the mission within the wake of the Ukraine disaster, not one of the area’s IOCs have introduced to again the theory, nor has there been any main push from regional our bodies just like the East Mediterranean Fuel Discussion board to advance the plan. Regardless that value is a robust attention, the political shifts had to make the mission viable are extremely not going to be accomplished within the close to time period.

The loss of a ultimate settlement between Israel and Cyprus regarding the standing of the Aphrodite/Yishai box is much less of an obstacle to growth, however it does prohibit doable export routes for undeveloped Cypriot reserves. Key to this factor is the opportunity of linking the Aphrodite discovery with Israel’s Leviathan, either one of that are operated by means of Chevron. Then again, the much more likely export direction for the instant seems to be a linkage to the Egyptian LNG terminal at Idku, which is operated by means of Shell, some other Aphrodite spouse. A linkage from Cypriot to Egyptian property could also be extra viable from a diplomatic perspective, as any Israeli settlement with Cyprus holds the prospective to antagonize Turkey, with which Israel is these days in a state of rapprochement.

In Israel, notable entries just like the United Arab Emirates’ Mubadala Power have slightly overshadowed the truth that the Israeli state’s most up-to-date election used to be its 5th in 3 years. Home political volatility items very actual operational dangers, to mention not anything of tensions with neighboring states that experience a precedent of disrupting fuel extraction. Will have to hawkishness within the Netanyahu coalition (or occasions outdoor Israeli keep watch over) result in a flare-up in violence between Israel and any of its neighbors, a provide disruption is a definite risk. The newfound consideration given to Israeli fuel property in mild of Europe’s power disaster is not going to be misplaced on Israel’s detractors. As such, the variety of sure traits Israel loved in its fuel sector throughout 2022 some distance from be sure that this 12 months will pass as easily.

Extra Gulf funding?

Gulf state-owned hydrocarbon firms additionally solidified their presence within the area throughout 2022, with QatarEnergy farming into its 3rd exploration block in Egypt and changing Novatek within the TotalEnergies/Eni consortium in Lebanon. UAE-based Mubadala Power is eager to advertise the truth that its hydrocarbon manufacturing portfolio, which has reached an an identical of 500,000 barrels consistent with day, is composed of 70% fuel manufacturing, and its 22% stake within the Tamar box makes it probably the most really extensive Gulf participant within the area. Strikes to ascertain a global arm of the Abu Dhabi Nationwide Oil Corporate (ADNOC) rarely ensure an expanded Emirati presence in Israel’s upstream, however such an access would now not lack precedent.

Regional fuel call for will stay an element

A key issue to keeping up exports is fuel call for within the area itself, the vast majority of which is accounted for by means of Egypt. Fuel intake within the nation reached 61.9 bcm in 2021, dwarfing 11.7 bcm in Israeli call for the similar 12 months. LNG exports have helped save you Cairo’s dire fiscal place from worsening, which used to be most likely the inducement for introducing call for control efforts ultimate 12 months that incorporated discounts in lighting fixtures and air con use at key govt and business amenities, along with expanding the home use of dirtier, dearer liquid fuels in its energy combine.

JODI, Energy Intelligence

This construction is itself a departure from precedent, since serving home call for has up to now been extra of a concern for Cairo than keeping up exports. Over the following a number of years, new discoveries will building up long-term incentives to expand extra Egyptian provide, and rising use of renewables may even supply aid to strained fuel provides. Then again, with its call for for fuel nonetheless rising and renewables making up simply 10% of its energy combine, Cairo will most likely stroll a wonderful line between working a fuel surplus or deficit for a minimum of some other few years.

Past 2023

One day, the warfare in Ukraine will finish. But Europe will nonetheless have a robust want for extra fuel provides, as it’s extremely not going that imports from Russia will resume within the foreseeable long run, if ever. Whilst the frenzy to protected new provide has observed substantial growth within the area of only one 12 months, the diplomatic and business paintings that may lead to secure LNG cargoes heading to Europe from the Jap Mediterranean is probably not finished in 2023. Growth will stay at risk of unexpected occasions and exogenous shocks that affect regional states, however in some ways those components constitute trade as same old for a area this is no stranger to volatility. Nonetheless, a extra built-in, fuel generating “East Med” area after all appears to be at the horizon.


Colby Connelly is a non-resident student with MEI’s Economics and Power Program and a senior analyst at Power Intelligence.

Photograph by means of Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto by way of Getty Pictures

The Center East Institute (MEI) is an impartial, non-partisan, non-for-profit, instructional group. It does no longer have interaction in advocacy and its students’ reviews are their very own. MEI welcomes monetary donations, however keeps sole editorial keep watch over over its paintings and its publications replicate handiest the authors’ perspectives. For an inventory of MEI donors, please click on here.



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