June 21th, 2024 | 8:40

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The Gaza Marine gas field will be exploited by Israel

Mairenis Gomez

May 18, 2024 | 3:45 p.m.

The news that Israel and the United States have begun construction of an industrial port to exploit the Gaza Marine field, valued at more than $500 billion, has generated intense debate. This field, located 17 miles off the Gaza coast, contains 30 trillion cubic meters (bcm) of high-quality gas. The exploitation of these energy resources raises serious questions about the interest and motivations behind the control of Gaza.

The strategic value of Gaza Marine

The Gaza Marine field has been an object of desire for Israel for a long time. In 1999, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) signed a contract with BG Group (now part of Shell), giving 90% of the profits to the company and 10% to the PNA. However, this agreement was never fulfilled due to the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007. This blockade has prevented any access to the gas fields, depriving the Palestinians of the billions of dollars they represent.

The blockade has been convenient for Israel's interests, which has doubled the size of its gas value chain in the last four years, becoming a major producer and exporter. The current geopolitical context, with the war in Ukraine and Europe's need to diversify its gas supply, has increased Israel's expectations of becoming a key energy node.

Geopolitical and economic interests

In March of this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni that Israel wants to “accelerate gas exports to Europe through Italy.” Israel's desire to increase its gas exports coincides with Russia's partial exclusion from gas supplies to Europe due to the war in Ukraine.

Israel has recently granted 12 licenses to six companies, including British Petroleum and Italian oil company Eni, to explore and discover additional offshore natural gas fields. This underlines Israel's intention to consolidate its position as a key player in the global energy market.

Implications for the region

Israel's situation in the Middle East is strategic due to the orientation of the Gaza Strip and the location of energy reserves under the sea. The Middle East is the world's most important energy hotspot, with almost half of the world's proven oil and gas reserves. The exploitation of deposits in the region could have significant implications for neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Egypt and Cyprus, which share waters and possibly energy pockets.

Critical analysis

Following the trail of money and potential profits, it becomes evident that economic and strategic interests are deeply intertwined with political and military actions in the region. The exploitation of Gaza Marine by Israel and the United States can be seen as part of a broader strategy to consolidate control over energy resources and secure key supply routes.

The situation is reminiscent of historical precedents in Iraq and Libya, where energy interests played a crucial role in conflicts and foreign interventions. The narrative that control of Gaza is a simple resource grab is not new, but it is reinforced with each new action that aims to exploit its energy resources.

Conclusion

The exploitation of the Gaza Marine field by Israel and the United States not only has economic implications, but also political and strategic ones. The history of the blockade of Gaza and control over its energy resources reflects a power dynamic where economic and political interests are closely linked. As Israel continues to consolidate its position in the global energy market, it is crucial to understand how these actions affect stability and relations in the Middle East region.

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