Next year promises to be eventful in the Eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus and Israel hope to reignite offshore exploration aspirations following the August 2015 discovery by Italian firm Eni of the giant 22 tcf Zohr gas field offshore Egypt. For Cairo, 2016 should see the finalization of the development plan for Zohr while UK-firm BP will be preparing for the 2017 start-up of its $12bn, 5 tcf West Nile Delta (WND) project, which will start paving the way for Egypt to become energy independent by the turn of the decade.

Cyprus and Israel hope Zohr and by association, Eni’s exploration model of tapping into ‘new plays’, will spur IOC interest. Both countries’ hopes are muddied by political issues but there is renewed hope 2016 could see a breakthrough on the 41-year-old division of Cyprus, while Israel last week passed a gas outline and is close to achieving its own diplomatic rapprochement with Turkey – both of which make the development of its own 22 tcf Leviathan gas giant more likely. (CONTINUED - 1172 WORDS)