Natural gas find could transform Israel's economy
Israel could be one step closed to energy independence after the discovery of "extremely significant" natural gas reserves at an offshore drilling site
By Karin Kloosterman - Israel 21c
Israel could be one step closed to energy independence after drilling companies announced the discovery of "extremely significant" natural gas reserves at an offshore drilling site in the Mediterranean about 60 miles off the coast of Haifa, Israel.
One massive pocket of natural gas is expected to contain more than three trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to feed Israel's energy needs for 15 years, lessening its dependence on foreign fuel. This is the largest natural gas reserve discovered in Israel, with an estimated value of $15 billion. It is three times larger than an existing drill site on Israel's southern coast, which is expected to be depleted in five years. Israel's National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer called the discovery an "historic moment" for Israel.
Delek Drilling's PR representative Shaya Segal told ISRAEL21c that it will take some time to understand the impact of the find: "First of all we don't have the full information," he says. "We just know there are great quantities there. In about two and a half weeks, after more tests are concluded, we will know more exactly what is there."
But before the champagne corks are popped, analysts caution that further investigations at the Tamar site be made. They are also insisting that while the natural gas find will boost the country's economy for some years, Israel's future remains in high tech, not energy.
Dan Halman, the CEO of Halman-Aldubi Group, a mutual funds firm in Israel told The Jerusalem Post: "If the Tamar site opposite the Haifa coast succeeds in producing the significant quantities of natural gas predicted, we are talking about a revolution which will have an impact on the Israeli economy for the coming generations."
Personally, I would rather a gradual transition, as far as is possible/reasonable, to the use of non fossil fuel-based energy sources; but beggars can't be choosers, can they? Pretty much every one who has come to visit me in Israel has been surprised/impressed by the extent to which solar power is harnessed here (and the funny thing is that it isn't even as much as it could be - it is just that the rest of the world is so derelict in harnessing this source).
I mentioned the find to an extremely cynical, 'pragmatic' (i.e. in favour of 'territorial expansion' on security grounds) acquaintance a few days ago. Said friend snorted. "So, I wonder how long it will be before the Lebanese start to lay claims to the site?"
My acquaintance is wrong, I think. I hope. But this part of the world is pretty crazy, AND the Lebanese were making odd noises about their proprietorial rights to Humus a little while ago, so who knows?