Israel seeks foreign partners to help develop gas fields (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) By Jean-Luc Renaudie 03/29/12)
AFP} Agence France Presse
AFP} Agence France Presse Articles-Index-Top
With its huge offshore natural gas deposits, Israel is hoping to
become an energy El Dorado, and is seeking foreign partners to help
develop its newly-discovered resources.
"All parties with expertise and know-how in prospecting, extraction
and infrastructure are welcome," Shaul Tzemah, head of Israel´s
energy ministry told delegates at a seminar on Wednesday to pitch the
idea to major French energy firms.
"It´s now or never -- if you want a presence, there are opportunities
to be grasped," he told the audience, which included representatives
of Electricité de France (EDF), Suez-Gaz de France and Technip.
Israel´s Delek Energy and US firm Noble Energy have struck gas
offshore at the Tamar and Leviathan fields, 130 kilometres (81 miles)
off the Mediterranean port city of Haifa, and more recently at the
nearby Tanin 1 field.
Leviathan is believed to hold some 450 billion cubic metres (16
trillion cubic feet) of gas while Tamar has reserves of up to 238
billion cubic metres (8.4 trillion cubic feet).
And Tanin 1 could yield up to 34 billion cubic metres (1.2 trillion
cubic feet), Delek and Nobel estimated last year.
In yet another discovery last June, Israel´s Hachshara Energy said it
had found two new natural gas fields, Sarah and Mira, around 70
kilometres (43 miles) off Hadera, slightly further south.
Initial tests indicate the latest finds could hold around 184 billion
cubic metres (6.5 trillion cubic feet).
In total, Tzemah believes Israel´s overall gas reserves could be over
a trillion cubic metres (35 trillion cubic feet).
How these resources can best be exploited is yet to be decided.
An official commission must within the next two months present its
conclusions on how much gas will be used in Israel and how much
exported, most likely to Europe.
"Our domestic market is limited. If we decide to export and can
therefore offer opportunities to make more money, we can more easily
attract foreign groups who will need to make heavy investments," said
Eugene Kandel, president of Israel´s National Economic Council.
The government has announced the creation of the first Israeli
sovereign fund, which will receive royalties, and revenue from a
special tax on gas and oil profits.
"This fund will constitute a reserve for the future which will be
entirely invested abroad. It will reach about $80 billion (60 billion
euros) by 2040," said Kandel, who is also economic adviser to Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel has also partnered with Cyprus on the development of offshore
gas fields, with the allies tentatively discussing cooperation on the
delivery of gas to European and Asian markets.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Cyprus in February,
becoming the first premier of the Jewish state to do so, and the two
countries have signed a deal delineating an exclusive economic zone.
Israel´s natural gas finds are expected to sharply reduce its
dependence on imports.
In 2010, it used 5.3 billion cubic metres of natural gas, most of it
for energy generation. Egypt had been meeting about 43 percent of the
Jewish state´s natural gas needs, but supply has been repeatedly
disrupted over the past year due to sabotage of the pipeline in the
By 2030, gas is predicted to be generating 60 percent of Israel´s
electricity compared to 40 percent at present.
The use of the more heavily-polluting oil and coal are to be halved
over the same period, to 30 percent, while renewable energy, such as
solar power, should account for 10 percent of consumption by 2030,
according to official projections.
"French concerns must participate in this new energy, economic and
industrial adventure," France´s ambassador to Israel, Christophe
Bigot, told the seminar. "For now, we are unfortunately not very
present in this sector, despite our recognised competence and
expertise," he added. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse.
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY