Saturday, 24 January 2015
Russia prepares to develop Gaza gas
With everything that’s happening in the world today, from
Iraq to Syria to Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Iran, this has to be the most
exciting and volatile period in the history of mankind.
In a significant political and economic development, Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas met Jan. 23 with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The
meeting came as a prerequisite to officially sign an investment agreement
aiming to develop the Gaza offshore gas field in the Mediterranean Sea. It is
only logical to assume that this step will raise the ire of Israel. The latter
does not appreciate the role Russia plays in the region, especially since
Israel has never come to an agreement with Russia.
The timeline of when gas was discovered and everything that
happened in between is very interesting and well worth examining. But suffice
it to say that the amount of gas in question is substantial and will no doubt
cause Israel and the US much consternation.
It is important to note that according to economic
estimations, the reserve of Marine Gaza can hold up to 30 billion cubic meters
of gas, noting that its development will need three to four years and will cost
around a billion dollars. The revenues of this field are estimated at $6 to $7
billion a year, throughout many years. A part of the said revenues will be
given to the Palestinian Authority in the form of taxes and fees. This is
supposed to render the authority independent from donor countries.
Abbas announced in Moscow that he is dealing with Russia as
a major power, which has to play a key role in the Middle East. He added, “We
are happy to see that Russia is an active and influential power on the
international arena.” Abbas old Itar-Tass, “We would like to see Russia playing
a leading role in the Middle East, since it is a major power.”
This could very well be a game changer. Between an avalanche
of advancing technologies and seismic shifts in geopolitics and finance, it’s
hard to tell which way the chips will land.