In Egypt, the largest gas field ever found in the Mediterranean area: the discovery was made by the Italian Company, Eni.

  • 31 August 2015

Eni, the Italian oil and gas Spa, discovered in Egypt, the largest gas field ever found in the Mediterranean area – specifically in an area of ​​the Nile Delta in which, on the basis of agreements with Cairo, the Italian company has the totality of management-. Italian energy giant had, in fact, found a seam in the Egyptian Mediterranean Sea, in the exploration prospect called Zohr, putting a check result that redraws the energy map, and strategic region.

The well Zohr 1X, through which was made the discovery, was drilled to total depth of 4,131 meters, in the block Shorouk. Eni, in fact, is present in Egypt since 1954 and has been a pioneer in the exploration and exploitation of gas resources in the country since the discovery of Camp Abu Maadi in 1967. Under an agreement signed in January 2014 with the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) -a result of an international tender competitive- which provides an estimated total investment of about 5 billion through its subsidiary Ieoc Production BV, holds the license Shorouk share of 100% it is the operator.

Specifically, Eni said the discovery consists of “about 630 meters of hydrocarbon column in a carbonate sequence of Miocene age with excellent properties of the reservoir rock.” From the information available geological and geophysical, and the data acquired in the discovery well, there would be a resource potential of up to 850 billion cubic meters of gas in place (5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent) and an extension of about 100 square kilometres.

If the forecast was correct, Zuhr become the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea and can become one of the biggest gas finds in the world.

Zuhr would, therefore, an even larger field of Leviathan, oil field off the coast of Israel, estimated at 620 billion cubic meters and is considered to date the largest in the Mediterranean. All this will enable Egypt to meet the natural gas demand in the country for decades. If this potential is to reveal the truth, it is not only the biggest website Zuhr ever found in the Mediterranean, but it could become one of the biggest gas finds in the world.

The investments, which will be used for projects that will begin in the next four years, were aimed at the development of 200 million barrels of oil and about 37 billion cubic meters of gas, but the discovery of Zohr should lead to an upward revision of these figures, taking account of a “potential in greater depth”, which will be investigated in the future through a well dedicated, explains the same Eni, the largest producer of hydrocarbons in Egypt with a production of about 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The discovery “will increase by one third reserves of Cairo – said the spokesman of the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum, Hamdi Abdul Aziz – and will greatly contribute to the achievement of the national energy plan that plans to achieve self-sufficiency within five years.”

The CEO of the oil company, Claudio Descalzi, went to Cairo to update Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and to talk about the new discovery with the Prime Minister of the country, Ibrahim Mahlab, as well as with the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Sherif Ismail. Descalzi, on this occasion, said: “This important achievement is the confirmation of our expertise and our capacity for technological innovation with immediate practical application, and shows particularly strong spirit of cooperation between all the business components that underlie of these great successes. The strategy that has led us to insist in research in mature areas of countries that we know from decades has proven successful, proving that Egypt still has great potential. This historic discovery will be able to transform the energy scenario of an entire country, which welcomes us for over 60 years. ” Exploration – added the CEO Eni – “confirms the focus of our growth strategy: in the last 7 years we have discovered 10 billion barrels of resources and 300 million in the last six months. This finding takes on even greater value as done in Egypt, a gateway for Eni, which can be exploited significant synergies with the existing installations allowing a rapid start of production. ”

The next commitments Eni will cover the activities of delineation of the field to ensure the accelerated development of the discovery that makes the best use of existing infrastructure, at sea and on land.

The discovery of Eni also comes at a time when other oil-energy companies are forced to cut investment. The price of oil (WTI) fell below $ 40 a barrel, a level that had not been touched since 2009, and this general decline in prices does not bode a possible return to exploration drilling.





Turkey: the tourism industry is in crisis

  • 30 August 2015

In Turkey, the summer of 2015, will be remembered as one of the worst summers for the tourism sector. The issue is inevitably linked to the complex situation of the country; in fact Turkey has problems related to terrorism, and to an unprecedented political crisis.

During these recent months, in fact, there was a wave of terrorist attacks that have hit several areas of the country. The attacks against the security forces, by now, have become almost daily.

The recent decisions of the government in Ankara about the problems related to both the Islamic state and both the Kurdish opposition, led at the beginning of the bombing against the militants of the Islamic state in Syria and the Kurds in northern Iraq – in what the leaders Turks called “war on terror synchronized.” Turkey is suffering, as reaction, the inevitable intensification of terrorist attacks and violence against the police and army.

The array of terrorist attempts, which repeatedly hitting the country, is not unique. The responsible are, in fact, members both of the Workers’ Party of Kurdistan (PKK) both of the army of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation front (DHKP-C), – which Ankara believe being in league with the PKK.

Furthermore, Turkey has launched an attack against the Isis locations in Syria to destroying -according with Turkish sources – all the Isis objectives that threatened the border between Syria and Turkey. The Turkish authorities, however, have not asked for further NATO military presence in Turkey and the Atlantic Alliance is not involved in the creation of a buffer zone in Syria to protect the refugees: The question, however, there seems to be an understanding between the Mediterranean Country and the United States, in order to create a “safe zone” in northern Syria, along the border with Turkey. The Turkish operations have also had the approval of Saudi Arabia, one of the states at the forefront of operations anti-Isis.

Turkish operations against jihadi militias of the Islamic State have been accepted by the other Countries with satisfaction, after Ankara was criticized for an alleged indulgence towards the Caliphate. However, the Turkish action against Kurdish rebels of the PKK, didn’t have the same international consensus, because Turkey was accused to have broken the truce in force since 2013.

From the political point of view, however, the problem that is crippling the country relates to the failure of negotiations to form a coalition government, with Davutoglu (AKP), which acknowledged the impossibility of giving birth to an executive, and it has put the issue in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The current scenario, therefore, portends the holding of new elections in the autumn.

This situation has inevitably caused the crisis in the tourism sector. According to data provided by the Ministry of Tourism Turkish, the arrivals from abroad fell to 14.89 million in the first six months of the year, down 2.25% over the same period in 2014. Even more obvious is the collapse in revenue, estimated in – 13.8% in the second quarter of 2015.

The revenues have recorded data even worse: according to the National Institute of Statistics data, from March to June, the industry fell by 13.8%.

The outlook for the official data in the months of July and August are “a dramatic decline”, as explained by Timur Bayindir, president of Turob, among the major trade associations.

By analysing the data in detail we note that arrivals from northern and continental Europe -with the exception of Germany- have declined sharply. In addition, the cruise companies that had Istanbul as an organized stop, they decided to cancel the stop in the Turkish city, as had happened during the protests in Gezi Park.

Another reason of the touristic sector crisis is the fall of the presence of Russian tourists. Russian, in fact, suffer because of the devaluation of the rouble, and, as far as concern touristic data, it is estimated that only in the first seven months of the year over half a million Russians could not do the usual holiday on the Mediterranean Sea.

A decrease of about 10% has also damaged the Aegean coast, despite its popular beaches and archaeological treasures. The area, in fact, could not stand the comparison with the nearby Greek islands, which have attracted tourists for the most competitive prices.

One of the positive items, however, concerns the presence of tourists in Istanbul, with an increase of 8.3% between January and July. The main increase (in potential further growth after the nuclear deal and the distention of diplomatic relations) is due to the arrival of the Iranians tourists. In perspective, the best news for Turkey is perhaps the opening of the Chinese tourism market, with a boom of 61%, although the numbers remain low with a total of hundred and forty-four thousand arrivals.

The strategy implemented by the government, to reduce losses (estimated at two digits) resulted in the postponement of two weeks of the new school year; this action hopes to push the families to take this opportunity to make new holiday. The Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, has announced that this year the schools will reopen on September 28, instead of 14, “in line with the demands of the tourism sector.”

Because of the low summer gains, in fact, in recent weeks have increased the calls of the mayors of the tourist province of Mugla, Aegean Sea, to request the postponement of school two weeks, to include on the holiday weekend also for Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), 24 to 27 September.

The Former French President Sarkozy causes reactions among the countries of the Maghreb

  • 29 August 2015



Nicolas Sarkozy, the Former President of the French Republic, at the end of July 2015, made a three-day visit in Tunisia. This trip, as stated by the former president, was intended to “bring support to the country, following the recent terrorist attacks of which he was the victim.”

During the three-day stay in the country of the southern Mediterranean, Sarkozy met with leading representatives of Tunisian institutions, including the president Beji Caid Essebsi, Prime Minister Habib Essid and the Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Ennaceur. The main issues that were addressed in the talks between the former French president and some of the political leaders Tunisians were: terrorism, immigration and the economy.

The meeting with the Tunisian president Essebsi was the occasion to reaffirm “the support of France and other democratic countries to the efforts made by Tunisia to combat terrorism and illegal immigration, while continuing to pursue its objectives of growth “. Sarkozy has also expressed its appreciation towards a successfully -as he believe – “Tunisian Spring”. Finally, Sarkozy declared that “Tunisia today has more need concrete actions than words. The fight for the security of Tunisia is the struggle for the safety of all the free countries of the world. ”

However, some statements, made by the former President of the French Republic, during his visit in Tunisia, have angered some countries of the Maghreb.

Sarkozy said, in fact, that Tunisian problems are caused by its geographic location and by the proximity of Libya and Algeria. That statement has caused a reaction in Algeria (in Libya the situation is so confused and chaotic, that hardly the analysis conducted by former French President could been noticed), confirming the impression of the negative judgment that Sarkozy former French colony.

Algerians have also linked this assertion with another recently released by the former tenant of the Elysée, in which he openly preferred Morocco among all the countries of the Maghreb. He said that a trip to the area “have to start right from Morocco “.

Between Morocco and Algeria, there is a complicated relationship. This two countries, during the past, were involved in several bloody conflicts and they had strained diplomatic relations, also for the unresolved issue of the former Spanish Sahara (that declared the indipendence from Morocco and Algeria, as a neighbouring Country, supported this decision).

The words of Sarkozy then, reopened the debate on his foreign policy vision that has marked the recent history of the Mediterranean, creating a shower of criticism, often addressed directly to the person of Sarkozy, accused of being the cause of the chaos in Libya (for his determination to overturn Gaddafi’s tyranny) and to have also good relations with former Tunisian dictator Ben Ali.

The Tunisian authorities, in response to statements by the French, were quick to clarify that “relations between Tunisia and Algeria are excellent and do not suffer from  misunderstanding.” After recalling the deep and historical relations that bind the two countries, the Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche said that Algeria supported all stages of the democratic transition in Tunisia and all that has gone through difficult times, as well as Tunisia was in solidarity with Algeria during the country’s liberation.

The Tunisian Foreign Minister also stated that “there is a sincere mutual desire to strengthen bilateral cooperation and coordination at all levels and at all times, especially at this stage in order to cope with the terrorist threat and to act positively for the return of security and stability in Libya. It’s decided to going on with actions  part of a comprehensive political settlement with the participation of all parties without exception ”.

Another aspect that determines the improvement of relations between the two countries is as far as concerne the intensification of cooperation in the fight against terrorism. According to the latest rumors, the Algerian security forces have,recently, handed over to those of Tunis a blacklist Tunisians businessmen, suspected to have dealings with terrorist organizations active in the region on the border between the two countries. The names are in this list of suspects following a number of confessions and statements given during interrogation of the many terrorists arrested in recent months in Algeria. They are probably involved in the financing of jihadist groups.

Moreover, from an economic standpoint, the state of relations between Tunisia and Algeria appears to be extremely relaxed and collaborative. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in fact, signed the decree which provides for the granting of a loan to Tunisia worth 100 million dollars. This is the last formal act that makes operating an agreement between the two countries on March 10 in Algiers and ratified by the Tunisian Parliament on 5 May. This loan was granted on very favorable terms, because, to be repaid in fifteen years with an interest rate of 1% and a grace period of five years, and served in the context of financial cooperation between the two countries which aims Main revive the public finances of Tunisia.

However, there are negative episodes that make less rosy relations between the two countries. A new element of tension concerns the ban – for reasons of security- for agents of the security forces and the Algerian military, to go to the Tunisian territory, even for a short holiday. This choice was prepared by a joint statement of the ministries of Defense and Interior to Algiers, as a result of the recent terrorist attacks in Tunisia, in particular that agents Algerians can become the object of potential ambushes jihadists in Tunisian territory.



Cooperation between Italy, Lebanon, Tunisia and Egypt: the project Ready Med Fish

  • 8 August 2015

Under the project R.E.A.D.Y. MED. FISH. – Requalification of Employment and Diversification for Youth in the Mediterranean Fishery, co-financed by the European Programme ENPI CBC MED – Cross-Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean, in the last week of July were held at CIHEAM-IAMB, the Agronomic Institute Mediterranean of Bari, the one-week courses addressed to fishermen cooperatives. The Project Ready Med Fish (requalification And Diversification of Employment for Youth in the Mediterranean). The fishermen formed by these courses will have the task, at a later time, to train fishermen directly on the territory of partner countries.

The project has officially started on Nov. 13, 2013 and is an example of cooperation between the Mediterranean countries in a politically difficult step at international level (the project involves Italy, Lebanon, Tunisia and Egypt), but also a practical approach which aims to give the technical means for implementing the multiple possibilities of diversification that the multi-functionality of fisheries makes possible.

The specific objective of the project is to enhance the professionalism of young people working in the fishing in the Mediterranean as part of the multi-functionality, in order to stimulate private entrepreneurship and improve the regulatory framework.

This aim is part of the wider objective of promoting – in countries interest- both cultural dialogue both local governance in the fisheries sector, through employment in the field of skilled and qualified staff.

Ready Med Fish is an example, not only for cooperation among the countries of the Mediterranean, in a politically difficult phase at the international level, but also a practical approach that aims to provide the technical means for implementing the multiple possibilities of diversification that the multi-functionality Fisheries makes possible. “The Project Ready Med Fish is crucial for policy cooperation in the Mediterranean countries,” says the project manager Francesca Ottolenghi, who continues: “The project has enormous potential they see Mediterranean actors, public and private, together to ensure the development of multi-functionality as a supplementary activity to the artisanal fishing sector, a sector that is going through a deep crisis and the Mediterranean that without joint efforts at the basin level, is intended to set, taking with him all the wealth of traditions and culture thousands of years old “.

In order to modernise the fishing industry we have been identified two novelties: Fishing tourism and Fish-tourism, representing an innovative proposal to meet the need for diversification of the fishery and allow you to upgrade a significant portion of the tourism market by creating one more.

The fishing tourism is an activity that combines the commercial fishing practiced by entrepreneurs fish, or individual associated with tourism and recreational activities aimed at people outside the crew, embark on fishing vessels. The Fish- tourism goes from catering to the hospitality includes educational and recreational activities – such as bathing, cultural events and services – to the correct use of aquatic ecosystems and fishery resources. It provides a broad involvement of fishing enterprises of which captures even the socio-cultural aspects, such as the use of the dwelling or other structures owned by the entrepreneur himself.

The project R.E.A.D.Y. MED. FISH also provides that for each country the project partners involved is an institutional actor is an actor of industry associations. For Italy, the partners are the Region of Puglia and the Lega Pesca, who coordinates the project. The other partners are Egypt’s General Authority for the Development of fish stocks and the National Cooperative Union Fish Resources; for Lebanon, the Ministry of Agriculture – Department for Fisheries and Wildlife and the Cooperative Association for Fishery in Sahil Khairazane; Tunisia, the Directorate General of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Fishery Development Group.

Finally, the IAM-B, the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (CIHEAM operating structure in Italy) is a part of the project as an international organization.

The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (MAIB) is a centre for post-graduate training, applied scientific research and design of interventions in partnership on the territory under the programs of international cooperation, active in four areas: management of land and resources Water, Integrated Plant Protection Orto-Mediterranean fruit, Organic Farming and Mediterranean Agriculture, Food and Rural Development sustainable.

The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (IAMB) was, with that of Montpellier, the first to be founded by the CIHEAM.

As an operational structure Italian CIHEAM enjoy the privileges of extraterritoriality recognized by the Italian Republic in international organizations, thanks to the agreement of Establishment, signed in 1962 by the Italian government, ratified in Italy by Law No. 932 of 13 July 1965 and supplemented by the Agreement of office, ratified by Law no. 159 of 26 May 2000.

Founded in 1962, the CIHEAM (Centre International de Hautes Etudes Mediterranean Agronomic) is an intergovernmental organization whose membership comprises thirteen Mediterranean countries: Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey. Its headquarters are in Paris.

The management board and decision CIHEAM is the Board of Directors, made up of one delegate from each participating country. Are members by right, with consultative vote, the representatives of the OECD and the Council of Europe. At meetings, as observers, representatives of the European Commission, FAO and of OADA.

The Board of Directors is advised by a Scientific Committee composed of eminent personalities belonging to institutions of higher education and agricultural research centres agronomic.

The operational structure consists of the General Secretariat, with his secretary, and four Mediterranean Agronomic Institutes (IAM) with the respective directors