[Oil & Gas Updates]: Theories explaining the Syrian crisis through the prism of energy abound

An article published in Al-Akhbar by Nasser Charara [Link in Arabic. French translation here] on November 13 looks at the Syrian crisis through energy geopolitics. The author refers to leaks emanating from a “western oil giant” to conclude that recent gas finds are behind the problems in Syria. According to the article, there is a Qatari plan, approved by the United States and supported by Israel and Turkey, whose objective is to build a new pipeline that carries Qatari and Israeli gas to Europe, via the Syrian city of Homs. The pipeline would pass through Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria until it reaches Homs where it would separate into 3 branches: One leading to Latakia, another to the Lebanese city of Tripoli and a 3rd to Turkey. The plan would accomplish three achievements: (1) break Russian gas monopoly in Europe; (2) free Turkey from its dependence on Iranian gas and (3) allow Israel to export its gas to Europe.

Lebanese Baath MP (and member of the Energy and Water Committee at the Parliament) Assem Qanso disagrees. He believes that Qatari gas could be carried more easily by pipelines passing through Iraq and Turkey before reaching European markets. In a press interview reported by El-Nashra [Link in Arabic] on November 15, he considered that the events  in Syria are motivated by a will to change the regime and to facilitate the establishment of pipelines that will carry newly discovered gas in the eastern Mediterranean, including Egyptian, Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian gas to European markets via Turkey. Large hydrocarbon deposits in Lebanon also seem to explain why the country is stable, which might suggest he believes that the current Lebanese leadership would not oppose such plans.

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