Sunday, December 14, 2014

Diplomatic Efforts by Texas Oil Company to Ease Tensions in Middle East

A large new natural gas field has been discovered in Israel, a good omen for its neighbors Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority. Israel's newly found resources would be able to sate their energy needs, but the tension between the states is standing in the way of cooperation. An oil company in the United States, Noble Energy, could be the key to peace. Its recent diplomatic deals with Israel and the nearby countries are supported by the Obama administration (New York Times). Noble Energy plans to sell natural gas from Israel to its neighbors to bring peace to the Middle East area. The American government "has quietly pushed the strategy" (NY Times) to relieve international tensions yet also promote its own agenda. It hopes that the energy supply from Israel will be able to expand past just fueling Egypt and Jordan, to more of Europe.

I think that these international deals have a good chance of succeeding. In the past few years, Jordan's demand for energy has driven it to continue to use Israel's source, despite tensions between the two states. With more available natural gas and further encouragement from an outside party, it is quite possible that the diplomatic arrangements could work, especially in the U.S.'s favor. On the other hand, other gas companies seeking use of Israel's resources are looking to compete with Noble Energy. The new natural gas reserves are located in the Royee field, which isn't held by Noble or its partner Delek Group (Haaretz). This is an opportunity for outside groups, like Italian company Edison, to control energy resources in Israel. It could also inhibit Noble and the Obama administration's plans to promote peace, if they lose influence in the region.

Questions:
Do you think that Noble's efforts for peace will succeed, or is Israel better off with private companies using the new natural gas resources to compete with outside corporations (such as Noble Energy or Delek Group)?
How will the possible competition affect the Noble-Delek monopoly and nations' consumption of Israel energy?
In general, how would peace in the Middle East region help the U.S. and international community? Should the U.S. be involving itself to prompt peace, and are the efforts enough?

7 comments:

Aria Farahani a.k.a Persian Boy said...

In my opinion, I believe peace will be achieved between Israel and its neighboring countries with the help of Noble Energy. I strongly believe that Egypt and Jordan would most likely buy the natural gas because it would be cheaper to move the gas from a closer country rather than another country, such as Russia. I'm not sure about the Palestinian Authority though, because if they do choose not to buy from Noble since Israel and the Palestinian Authority have had a conflict since the late 1940's. I believe the competition will be good for the neighboring countries because a little competition doesn't hurt. The competition would most likely be between Egypt and Jordan over getting the new source of natural gas, maybe they will compete over getting more of the substance or over getting a better price than the other. I believe the U.S. is doing the right thing trying to promote peace because it is a very strong country that has many resources and tactics that are far more superior compared to those of Middle Eastern countries. If the U.S. is able to help negotiate peace between these countries and Israel, it will create a more stable region, similar to how Europe was unstable for the first half of the 20th century, leading to both World War 1 and World War 2. If this region continues to be unstable, there may be a third world war, so the U.S.'s intervention would be very helpful.

Wesley Lee said...

If companies like Noble Energy were to gain control the new natural gas resource, it could definitely be a step in the right direction of improving diplomacy between Israel and surrounding countries. However, if it comes to privatization of this new resource by other companies, we might see increased tension as the many nations will compete for the business of the company in control. An interesting fact, however, is that the dependency of Israel on Noble Energy's Tamar platform (where this new gas field was found) is a focus for rockets from Hamas. This discovery could prioritize the Tamar platform as a target for Hamas. If it were to come more intense fire, it could severely damage Israeli-Palestinian relations. With recent attacks from militants on a major gas pipeline in Egypt leading to increased dependency on Israeli gas resources from surrounding nations, I believe that with the watchful eye of Noble Energy, this new discovery will help revitalize relations between Israel and other nations in the region, especially Jordan.

Catherine van Blommestein said...

The newly discovered gas field in Israel is property of Israel. Thus, Israel should choose whether it wants to outsource its production and distribution. I believe that any involvement the US has will be construed as the US forcing its agenda on the region. Unfortunately, much of the world already sees the US as a country that wishes to control the oil production in the Middle East. Politically, I think we should have a hands-off approach and let Israel, which is very capable, make its own decisions. We expect others to respect our natural resources; we should allow the same for Israel. Our involvement due to our close relationship with Israel could actually make things worse in the Middle East. Letting Israel control its own natural resources might even promote peace because surrounding countries will want to create friendly relations with Israel in order to procure some of Israel’s natural resources.

Brian Yee said...

I think that a company like Noble Energy could definitely improve tensions in the Middle East. Oil is such a sensitive issue and focusing on this problem could really bring in close ties. If Noble Energy were to gain control over the new natural gas field, I think that it should only control it to an extent. With its reputation as being more controlling than generous in terms of oil, the US is seen as a country that wants only to benefit itself. By pushing its agenda too much on this new found natural gas, it could worsen the tensions between countries in the Middle East. With this being said, I think that countries such as Israel should have more of a say of what to do with the resources. Noble Energy should be more of a supporter or consultant rather than the one who makes the calls. I think that the influence of outside corporations will just complicate things a bit more and in turn the competition would lead to more conflict. With more peace in the Middle East region, it could definitely help the US in terms of other political affairs and encourage more trust between the US and Middle Eastern region. While I believe the US should be involving itself to promote peace, since it's a very dominant power, I don't think these efforts are enough. Oil is but one topic that is sensitive among foreign countries and other affairs such as military defense, or democracy need to be discussed. However, I do believe that the US is heading in the right direction to attaining foreign trust and future involvement by trying to promote peace through the "medium" or foreign affair of oil.

Douglas Kirsher said...

Economics and politics are closely related. Sometimes countries will cooperate in areas of commerce and put politics aside. A key example of this is when China and the US established relations under the Nixon administration. China knew it would have to adapt its economic system in order to maintain its form of communist government. Today, while a form of capitalism flourishes at one level in China, the government has been able to maintain a communism government. Politics between Israel and its neighbors is complex but I think that the need for energy will result in cooperation at one level while on a greater level, conflict will remain. Perhaps over time, the conflict will be lessened which is what the goal of Noble Energy. If the Royee field has enough reserves to provide sufficient gas resources to the region, then the additional competition won’t be a problem. If there are not enough resources, then Noble Energy’s goals might not be reached as the various nations that have access to the Royee field gas will begin to compete. That competition could undermine the overall cooperation. Peace in the region is a noble goal but it will not be easily reached. If it were, then we would already have peace there. The Middle East has had conflict for thousands of years not only between Israel and its neighbors but even among the various ethic groups in the region. Peace would be great as it would provide more security to the United States who is often seen as supporting one side or another. It is a no win situation for the US to be involved in Middle East politics but we cant ignore the region and should strive to find new ways that could solve this problem.

Ben Maison said...

Improved relations through trade is a decent method of building diplomacy. Nobel is an American company. It's based in Texas, but it definitely has the opportunity to act as a sort of trade mediator between the two regions. It would indeed be an interesting diplomacy route to go primarily through the private sector as opposed to the public, but it's not totally uncommon, nor unthinkable either. The fact that Clinton herself pushed for such a plan proves US leadership thinks it feasible as well.

Samantha Bhaumik said...

On one hand, I agree with Catherine but on the other, I think that being the mediator would help save a lot of time. The US is always getting involved where we are maybe not needed/wanted, but I also believe that in this incidence the reward is worth the risk. Having Noble Gas come in and mediate the energy source could ease tensions and ties with Jordan, Egypt who needs a energy source pronto, the Palestinian Authority, and at the same time help out Europe stop reliance on Russia. All financial benefits aside, this attempt for peace will have more winers than losers. I believe that this act will successfully achieve peace. Jordan and Israel's relationship is not the best right now but there is hope. Jordan and Egypt need a energy source since their main sources have been attacked by militants in Sinai. Taking the energy directly from Israel might create more tension, so having the US to come a mediate is the best solution.