Noble Energy’s exploitation of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Natural gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean have brought conflicting maritime territorial claims by Israel and Lebanon to the fore, exacerbating tensions between the two countries, which are officially still at war. These discoveries have also raised concerns regarding Israel’s naval blockade imposed off the coast of the Gaza Strip, the denial through military force of Palestinians’ access to their natural gas reserves and fishing waters, and raised questions regarding the (il)legality of extractive operations in the vicinity of Palestinian gas reserves. Within this context, Noble Energy, an oil and gas exploration and production company based in Houston, Texas, is extensively involved in the development and exploration of Israelilicensed offshore gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean sea.

This briefing paper examines the impact of Noble Energy’s activities on existing (armed) conflicts in the region, and analyses the company’s compliance with applicable international frameworks, notably the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (hereinafter ‘OECD Guidelines’) and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (hereinafter ‘UNGPs’). Where applicable, this paper also looks at potential individual criminal liability for involvement in violations of international criminal law.

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publication cover - Beneath troubled waters
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