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Neighbors seen challenging Israel for control of discovered gas reserves

WASHINGTON — The discovery of large natural gas reserves off the coast of Israel could increase tension among U.S. allies in the Middle East, a report said.


The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said Israeli development of its new gas reserves could spark tension throughout the eastern Mediterranean.

The report asserted that the gas discoveries, estimated at 16 trillion cubic feet, could make Israel into an energy exporter, Middle East Newsline reported. But researcher Simon Henderson warned in the report that all of Israel's neighbors, including Egypt, might challenge Israel for control of the reserves.

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Henderson also warned of a confrontation between Israel and Lebanon as well as Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus over the natural gas reserves.

"Washington needs to pay careful attention, since these developments offer opportunities for U.S. companies as well as the potential for friction between U.S. allies," the report, titled "Seismic Shift: Israel's Natural Gas Discoveries, said. "And although the amounts of gas discovered so far seem unlikely to change the world, they could certainly change the eastern Mediterranean."

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