Israel’s Blessing

04/06/2011 20:55

News from Jerusalem

Despite the world of troubles facing Israel, a miraculous resource discovery has come to the land.

President Obama has dissed Israel, the UN is no friend, and the nations surrounded Israel are hostile. It took Moses 40 years to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the only land in the Middle East without oil—long a source of wry humor. But Israel, at last, has been granted an almost miraculous blessing.

First, in 2009, Israel announced the discovery of a major natural gas field off its coast in the Tamar region. Then at the end of last December, an immense natural gas discovery was confirmed in the Eastern Mediterranean within Israel’s territorial waters. It has the potential for making Israel a major energy exporter over the next decade while providing the country with possibly 200 years of natural gas. This could negate Israel’s plans to buy natural gas from Russia.

Noble Energy, Inc., a Houston-based company, made the discovery. It said drilling tests in its Leviathon field confirmed it was the world’s largest offshore gas find in the past decade and “easily the largest exploration discovery in our history,” said Charles Davidson, CEO of Noble, which has a controlling interest in the field. Leviathon is nearly twice the size of the Tamar field, also off the coast, discovered by Noble and its partners in 2009. The Leviathon discovery confirmed geologic models of the basin and “validates it contains significant natural gas resources,” Noble said. Chairman Gideon Tadmor of a partner company, Delek Drilling, said the field is “the largest gas discovery in deep water in the past decade. The field covers about 125 square miles, a story in Bloomberg News reported. The field could yield as much as 21.1 trillion cubic feet of gas, an independent engineering firm calculated, Energy-pedia news reported March 29.

The natural gas find could be followed by oil beneath the gas. In any case, the increased wealth and energy independence will make Israel considerably less dependent on energy from other nations, even in the short-run. If the gas discovered is turned into LNG (liquid natural gas) potential buyers would include European countries and including Greece and Cyprus. Leviathon is estimated to start producing gas in 2016, with Tamar to start earlier, in 2013.



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