The science is still in progress, but it now seems clear that the Eastern Mediterranean Basin holds oil and gas deposits that are truly mammoth. While the precise amount and locations of the resources in question are far from assured, the current estimates suggest there is likely to be some $170 billion worth of oil and almost $2 trillion worth of gas.
For Lebanon, simply achieving energy self-sufficiency would be an unprecedented game-changer, slashing costs for households and businesses, freeing up the funds for improved social welfare and enabling the government to service its gargantuan debts. Now consider that even under the most conservative estimates of the deposits and of Lebanon’s share thereof, developing the resources in question would enable the country to garner billions in annual export revenues for the next century or so.
Odds are that each of the principal entrants in this bonanza — Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) — also stand to reap dramatic fiscal benefits. For some, at least, it would be no exaggeration to describe the income from oil and/or gas exports as a form of national salvation.
Yes, there is that much at stake. The gas alone may be worth more than the annual gross domestic product of Canada, Russia, or India.