According to many reliable sources, approximately 41% of the world’s natural gas reserves are located in the Middle East. Primarily, in descending order, in: Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Iraq. Natural gas is a clean alternative to coal, safer than nuclear power facilities, and can be brought to market quickly. This makes natural gas a preferable energy source for Middle Eastern nations – a preference luckily being supported by many new gas discoveries in countries throughout the region.
In November, Genel Energy announced an agreement with the Kurdistan government that will allow the development of two gas fields in Iraqi Kurdistan: Miran and Bina Bawi. Genel and Kurdistan are looking forward to exporting gas to Turkey, utilizing the same route as the current oil pipeline.
Israel’s recent natural gas discoveries have the potential to make the country energy independent, as well as a major exporter of gas to the eastern Mediterranean and beyond. To date, Israel has discovered 30 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in its coastal waters. The Leviathan field, the largest of Israel’s natural gas fields discovered so far, is estimated to hold natural gas worth billions of dollars.
The Algerian government is predicting an increase of at least 40% in natural gas production within the next five years. Recovering from recent terrorist attacks, natural gas production is finally on the rise once again. According to Algeria’s energy minister, Yousef Al-Yousefi, natural gas production will double within the coming decade.
Last fall, Iran announced the opening of what would be the Middle East’s largest liquefied gas storage facility. The new plant—Shourijeh—is intended to diminish Iran’s imports of natural gas from Turkmenistan, which currently stand at roughly 5% of the country’s consumption. Shourijeh can provide 4.8b cubic meters of natural gas, making Iran the leading country in the Middle East in terms of natural gas storage capacity.