Paper: Gas and Oil Explorations in the Levant Basin: The Case of Lebanon and Israel

Large energy reserves have recently been discovered in the Levant Basin, where considerable amounts of gas reserves have been found in the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Lebanon, Cyprus and Israel. Lebanon and Israel are both net energy importers and suffer from energy security problems. Whereas Israel suffers from recent gas supply disruptions, Lebanon has been suffering for years from energy shortage, predominantly in the electricity sector. Given the energy dependence and insecure energy sectors of Lebanon and Israel, the recent energy discoveries are considered promising sources of economic opportunities and energy security for both countries. A complex conflict has emerged between Lebanon and Israel pertaining to the delimitation of their EEZ boundaries, namely a specific overlapped EEZ area. The settlement of this dispute to delimit their maritime boundaries presents a variety of complications. This article aims, in general, to address the energy discoveries in the Levant Basin with respect to Lebanon and Israel, and, in particular, to focus on the emerging dispute between Lebanon and Israel over the overlapped EEZ area. Furthermore, it examines specifically the various complications, including legal challenges, related to the settlement of this maritime dispute and the delimitation of the EEZ boundaries of both countries and that are crippling the exploitation of the energy reserves situated within the disputed EEZ area.

Rafael Leal-Arcas 

Queen Mary University of London – School of Law; World Trade Institute, University of Bern

Ehab Abu-Gosh 

Queen Mary University of London

April 24, 2013

Oil, Gas & Energy Law Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2013

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