Fights over rights to a natural gas field between Israel and the Hezbollah, has gone to the higher powers at the UN.
Israel has struck natural gas, and a new cause for conflict with its northern neighbour Lebanon which also lays claim to the massive gas field. The current Leviathan natural gas field dispute between Israel and Lebanon has now reached the United Nations since Hezbollah is laying claim to the gas fields as well.
Located off the eastern coastline of Israel, Lebanon and Hamas controlled Gaza the gas, potentially worth billions, is causing such an increasing rift between Israel and Lebanon; so much that the Lebanese government has filed a complaint with the UN after Israel unilaterally placed a line of buoys extending two miles into the sea off the two countries’ land border, citing security reasons.
The complaint reported in the Israel financial new Globes is now said to be part of worsening relations between the countries which are still in a formal state of war. The complaint was filed after Israel marked off a further two mile section of water with buoys, which it says is the actual maritime border between the two countries.
Influenced by Shiite Islam
For its part, Lebanon, which is strongly influenced by the Shiite controlled Hezbollah, has people like Nabih Berri, the Lebanese Speaker of Parliament who was quoted by the UK based Financial Times as stating that “Lebanon’s army, people, and resistance will be ready to thwart any attempt to steal its natural resources.”
These statements are being countered by Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau who is declaring that “Israel will not hesitate of use force if necessary ,” to back up its claims to the gas fields, said to contain as much as 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The fields are being developed by a number of companies in Israel, as well as Nobel Energy in Texas.
Berri, whose Amal faction is closely allied to Hezbollah, has considerable influence in the Lebanese parliament. This influence, coupled with the control that the Hezbollah now has over much of Lebanon, can only mean that the Hezbollah itself wants a piece of the disputed energy pie. It must also be noted that presently, Lebanon has no laws dealing with undersea mineral exploration and development in the waters off its coast. Natural gas exploration also takes a huge investment of resources, and by the time a “find” is made, considerable resources have been laid down, and are at stake.
Many Green Prophet readers may be wondering why this topic has relevance for an environmental and clean technology website. The answer to this lies in the reality of what could happen if current gas producing platforms by tNoble Energy company, together with Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Energy subsidiary are destroyed in a future military confrontation between Israel and the Hezbollah.
A war over gas?
The result could be an environmental catastrophe on a similar scale to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Natural gas wells can release benzene, which causes leukaemia, for example. A whole host of nasty chemicals from the process – before even a catastrophe – could damage the Mediterranean Sea.
If Israel and Lebanon were at peace with one another, and groups like the Hezbollah were not so influential, it might be possible for the two countries to reach some kind of agreement over sharing these energy resources. As is the case now, this dispute only adds fuel to the fire of animosity and hatred that has prevailed between the two countries for so many years.
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