Here is Why Obama Should Talk Natural Gas in Israel
By Steve LeVine
US President Barack Obama is navigating largely the same entrenched Israeli-Palestinian tensions as his predecessors have since the advent of shuttle diplomacy four decades ago. But Obama has one essential difference from the past—a local natural gas boom that is making petro-states out of the region’s traditional hydrocarbon have-nots.
The latest addition to the bonanza is Lebanon, Israel’s northern neighbor, which has set a March 28 deadline for lease bids on offshore gas fields that may hold the equivalent of five billion barrels of oil. Drillers have already announced the discovery of the same volume of natural gas in Israel’s portion of the East Mediterranean, and the government is mulling how much to export. Having found the gas equivalent of one billion barrels of oil in the same basin—called Levant—Cyprus is negotiating a possible financial bailout with Russia in exchange for access to the fields.
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