The discovery of hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean 15 years ago attracted much international interest with respect to the possibility for energy to have transformative potential for the region. At the same time, hopes were entertained for the region itself to become an important global energy player. The discoveries served to boost the self-confidence and ambitions of regional states, given the interest of bigger political and energy powers. That was a time of intense discussion regarding Europe’s energy security and the diversification of energy sources, and the eastern Mediterranean was perceived as having an important capacity to make a contribution. Energy findings highlighted bilateral and multilateral relations between and among the East Med littoral states. Importantly, natural resources enabled collaboration between states and led to a number of bilateral agreements, including maritime delimitation agreements and multilateral alignments, such as the establishment of broader bodies, like the East Med Gas Forum (EMGF). At the same time, the findings and future prospects also fuelled rivalries and active or underlying disputes that resulted in heightened tensions.
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