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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Syria's War over Gas Supplies

Some more proof that the war in Syria being carried out by ISIS is over gas.

In April 2012, Egypt cancels a 20 year old contract with Israel which would have secured 40 per of the gas needed by Israel.

See the article:

The article, Syria, the center of the gas war in the Middle East

The gas from Syria

When Israel began extracting oil and gas from 2009, it was clear that the Mediterranean basin had entered the game and that Syria would be appealed or the whole region would enjoy peace, because the 21st century is supposed to be that of clean energy. According to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP, the think tank of AIPAC), the Mediterranean basin contains the largest reserves of gas and it is Syria that there would be the most important. This institution also hypothesized that the battle between Turkey and Cyprus would expand because of the inability of Turkey to assume the loss of the Nabucco project (despite the contract signed with Moscow in December 2011 for the transport of part of South Stream gas via Turkey).

The revelation of the secret Syrian gas raises awareness of the enormity of the issue about it. Who controls Syria could control the Middle East. And from Syria, gateway to Asia, he will hold "the key to Russia House," as stated the Tsarina Catherine II, as well as that of China via the Silk Road. Thus, it would be ability to dominate the world because this century is the century of gas. It is for this reason that the signatories to the agreement of Damascus, allowing gas to pass through Iran Iraq and access to the Mediterranean, creating a new geopolitical space and cutting the lifeline of Nabucco, had said "Syria is the key to the new era."

From the article: The Great Gas Game over Syria

The past five years have seen discoveries of immense energy reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean; both the Levant Basin located along the shores of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza and Cyprus and the Nile Basin north of Egypt. According to preliminary geological surveys, the Levant Basin contains 3.5 trillion cubic meters (tcm) of gas and 1.7 billion barrels (bb) of oil. The Nile Basin contains 6 tcm of gas and 1.8 bb of oil.

The energy bonanza has predictably led to competitive resource scramble and its transport to the favoured customers. After all, the control of and access to the natural resources have been fundamental drivers of much of geopolitics. The roads, railways, ports, as also the oil and gas pipelines are the coveted objects of the powerful. The oil and gas have a three-fold merit: as the commodity inside, as the containers of that commodity and as the carriers of that commodity.

Syria alone is estimated to have discovered proven gas reserves of 284 bcm, oil reserves of 2.5 bb and shale reserves of 50 billion tonnes with the possibility of more findings. The production levels are, however, drastically falling. The pre-uprising level of oil was 380,000 barrels a day (bd), which fell to just 20,000 bd, a decline of about 95%. According to some estimates, the natural gas output has halved at 15 million cubic meters (mcm). A lot of gas is used for reinjection into the oil fields to improve the oil recovery. The unrest has not only disrupted the production, but has resulted in the withdrawal of foreign producers and financiers.

In more realistic terms, the project is still-born. Even though the Syrian route makes sense in normal situation, the political circumstances are totally unfavourable at present. Both Syria and Iran are under sanctions eliminating the possibility of external funding. The civil war in Syria rules out pipeline construction over a long stretch of area for many years.

Qatar has the third largest reserves of gas after Russia and Iran. Estimated at 25 tcm, most of its gas exports are in the form of LNG. The shale gas production in the US will impact the sale of Qatari LNG, therefore, Qatar seeks to secure long-term contracts via pipelines to the European countries. The EU has secured its energy imports till 2030, and is looking for secure infrastructural investments for the future thereafter. The Nabucco pipeline project from eastern Turkey to Austria is stalled due to insufficient gas available.

It is in this context that a new pipeline for Qatari gas has been proposed. In 2009, during the Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Thani’s visit to Turkey, it was agreed to build a pipeline and link it up with the Nabucco in Turkey. It is to originate in Qatar and move through Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria reaching Turkey. The European markets would share the resource with an insatiable Turkey.

Syria is a key link in both the rival pipeline projects; the one originating in Iran and the one originating in Qatar. Whether the Assad regime survives or a change of regime happens there would determine the global gas system in a large way. Qatar will not be the sole beneficiary of the pipeline. There are three distinct calculations besides carrying Qatari gas. It would pry Turkey loose from dependence on Iranian supplies, it would severely curtail the Russian near monopoly as the gas supplier to Europe and it would facilitate Israel’s gas export to Europe.

Syria's war over gas would certainly fill the gap in Israel's gas reserves. It would also be strategically important to rule over the Middle East. The rival pipeline Syria was proposing with Iran would have stalled by ISIS. Making available another pipeline that would benefit Israel and the Western reliance on gas knocking out Russia.

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