UN To Mediate A Natural Gas "Standoff" Between Israel and Lebanon Gas Fields Dispute

israel lebanon borderFights 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.

More articles on Israel and Lebanese energy issues:

Corruption Plagues Lebanese Environment Movement and Energy Exploration

Tshuva’s Yam Tethys Gas Company Wins, but the Environment Suffers

Hezbollah Interferes With Israel Energy Exploration

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8 thoughts on “UN To Mediate A Natural Gas "Standoff" Between Israel and Lebanon Gas Fields Dispute”

  1. Gillian says:

    First of all I would reject the claim by Hezbollah as they are not a country so cannot make any legitimate claim. Secondly, there are rules in place as to how fields across countries are dealt with. This is obvious with the Tamar Field as there has been no dispute over the production.

    I am not a geologist but if America and Israel have paid for the search in Israel and are ready to develop it then they must be sure that this is in their sovereignty. Lebanon must have known about the exploration yet have been quiet until the discovery so this is just sour grapes, just for a change! Any political discussions about gas found on land belonging to Lebanon would surely have been dealt with before now.

  2. Dani says:

    I think the point is somewhat being missed over here

    Firstly any one who doubts Hezbollah’s will to destroy their own resources just needs to take a look at the last war and how the infrastructure and environment was destroyed, this did not deter Hezbollah in the least.

    additionally look at Iran and the threat environmentally that they present. By forcing Israels hand with the threats of annihilation the Jewish state, may be forced to preempt an attack, creating havoc in the region

    Lastly take a look at Iraq and how Saddam destroyed the oil wells in the first Gulf war

    Any excuse to steal and destroy whilst creating a feeling of misplaced pride is an incentive to this primitive mindset bent on hate.

    And Israel must relinquish Territory’s, recourses and security for these 14th century inbreds? do me a favor.

    If the world or individuals are at all concerned with the environment well being and that includes the people of green prophet, then find a non environmentally damaging way of bringing the Arabs to their knees instead of futile attempts to create the fantasy of all of us working in uncle bobs garden together.

    If not well, your options will be living in a nuclear cess pool after we nuke em all or allowing our children to be the victims of their rape plunder and murder

  3. I think it’s worth knowing exactly where the territorial rights lay.

  4. It makes sense for Lebanon and possibly Hizballah to have a stake in the natural gas fields…refer back to the 1950s and The Jordanian Potqsh Works at Yam HaMelach (the dead sea). Until the Jordanians had their own potash works that Israel could shell in response to Jordanian shelling of the Israeli Potash works, there was no deterrent – once the Jordanians had something to loose a balance of common interest in non-hostilities emerged…if Hizballah or Lebanon were making good money from some of the gas field, with rigs they controlled, then interference with israeli rgs could result in the destruction of their rigs…but if Israel adopts a winner takes all approach it may only have short term benefits…as it says in the Talmud “tafasta meat tafasta, tefasta merubah, lo tafasta” – if you get hold of a little, you can keep hold of it, you take a lot, it may all slip away…

  5. Maurice Picow says:

    Israel should not have to compromise on anything that is well within it’s legal territorial waters. Like I noted in the article, corruption and despotism in Lebanon coupled with extreme hatred on the part of Hezbollah toward Israel, makes any cooperation between the two countries virtually impossible.

    Besides, as I also mentioned, If a pool of oil resembling the entire petroleum reserves of Saudi Arabia would be found under Tel Aviv, the Arabs would still look for ways to claim it as theirs.

    That’s the sad reality of life in the Middle East.

  6. Israel has gas rigs in operation already. I had a friend who worked on one of them. I think the Hezbollah wouldn’t sabotage them, especially since there are big international interests at stake. These kinds of mega-projects are deals made on the highest levels between huge companies and governments like the United States. Sabotage I doubt would happen, but putting a cog in the wheel of developing these fields most definitely looks like an outcome from this political dispute.

  7. steve says:

    Why is it that Israel needs to compromise on an issue that clearly is within Israeli sovereignty. It is one thing to share the bounty with a friend or a friendly neighbor but when the threats come from Hizbullah then the dis-united nations should shout out loud and clear to Lebanon: enough is enough. Like, that is going to happen.

    The Eco-disaster will only arise if the Terrorist organization Hizbullah is crazy enough to do something

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