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Report October 7, 2020

Value beyond price: Prioritizing political stability and regional integration when financing Mediterranean gas

By Olgu Okumuş

During a global pandemic that threatens not only the region but also the energy sector itself, the Eastern Mediterranean is facing unsettling tensions. These tensions are based on a variety of causes, but are mainly motivated by some yet to be exploited natural gas sources. In “Value Beyond Price: Prioritizing Political Stability and Regional Integration When Financing Eastern Mediterranean Gas,” Dr. Olgu Okumuş guides us through the labyrinth of tensions in the region, eschewing simple bipolar analysis for a deeper look at the very real energy issues, geopolitical linkages, financial constraints, and deep historical complexity informing what remains one of the most perplexing issues for international policymakers.

The central thesis is that economic development projects must take into account geopolitical rivalries as a reality in determining how to leverage East Med gas, rather than simply hoping that economic potential will override existential political conflicts.  In this frame, this paper argues for more mutual understanding, and to explore methodologies that will enhance regional integration as the most sustainable form of conflict-prevention policy. It suggests including this effort in the feasibility study of major energy investment projects. To make this possible, this report proposes mobilizing the power of multilateral dialogue platforms and international development banks. 

Exclusive economic zones (EEZs)

The Map aims to give a visual insight to delimitation disputes in the Mediterranean, which itself involves the terms of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The convention stated that a country’s territorial waters can stretch up to twelve nautical miles off its coastline, but its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) can extend two hundred miles from the shore. Within this EEZ (and, likewise, its continental-shelf claim), a country can claim fishing, mining, and drilling rights. When the distance between two countries is less than four hundred miles, they need to agree on a line dividing their claims.

EEZ on the map are based on national acts or decrees on maritime zones taken mainly from communications and submissions in compliance with the deposit obligation pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). For a list of maps sources please check the report.

Blocks and gas fields

The map aims to give visual insight into natural gas development blocks’ ownership dispute in the Mediterranean, which result from the maritime delimitation dispute.

The Atlantic Council in Turkey aims to promote dialogue and strengthen transatlantic engagement with the region through research, programming and high-level discussion forums to address critical issues around energy, economics, business, and security.

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