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Mediterranean gas future faces uncertainty

Aug. 21, 2013 at 9:15 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- There may be enough natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea for future exports, though timing depends on regional issues, the U.S. Energy Department said.

The Energy Information Administration, the analytical division within the U.S. Energy Department, said it estimated recoverable natural gas reserves in the Levant basin of the Mediterranean Sea at more than 40 trillion cubic feet.

The Tamar natural gas field offshore Israel is expected to start production this year. The EIA said it has estimated recoverable reserves of 10 trillion cubic feet. Leviathan, with 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, should enter into production by 2016.

EIA said there may be enough natural gas to encourage exports. Preliminary work on a liquefied natural gas export terminal is under way in Cyprus.

The administration said insecurity in Egypt and Syria, coupled with territorial disputes between Israel and Lebanon, could complicate export plans.

"Uncertainty over the location and configuration of export infrastructure persists, but several proposals are making progress despite complications posed by regional security problems, territorial disputes, and macroeconomic uncertainty," it said in a brief published Tuesday.

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