Israel may be soon exporting over 50% of its natural gas finds

Israel’s developing its new gas fields & is seeking to become less dependent on Egyptian gas imports. The Tzemach Committee on Energy Policy says Israel will legally be able to export 500 billion cubic meters of its newly found natural gas.

By Hezi Sternlicht & News Agencies


The Tzemach Committee on Energy Policy declared on Wednesday that Israel will legally be able to export 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The recommendation came as a surprise because an intermediary report by the committee referred to a considerably lower quantity of exportable gas.

Israeli-owned oil rig in the Mediterranean Sea. Energy Policy committee says Israel will be able to export 500 billion cubic meters of its natural gas discoveries. – Photo: Reuters

The committee, established to study the legality of exporting natural gas found through explorations at sea and headed by Energy and Water Resources Ministry Director-General Shaul Tzemach, said the amount is estimated to be more than 50 percent of Israel’s natural gas discoveries.

Over the past few years, Israel has become a player in the natural gas industry due to multiple discoveries off its shores, including huge gas fields centered 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the port of Haifa in the north. Israel is looking to become independent in the gas field due to its reliance until now on suppliers such as Egypt, which has been unable in recent years to stop attacks on a pipeline that carries the gas from Egypt.

According to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received the committee’s report on Wednesday and said, “Gas is an energy source that gives Israel a new economic horizon. It could give us both economic strength and economic independence. I think that it is important that we develop it wisely and responsibly. I intend to study the report and submit decisions that will give us future prosperity.”

Meanwhile, a report by online news page The Commentator on Aug. 24 claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is concerned that Israel’s developing natural gas industry may lead to a reduction in European dependence on Russian gas.

According to the report, the Israeli energy website Tashtiot claims that during Putin’s recent visit to Israel, he and Netanyahu agreed to create a subsidiary of Gazprom, Russia’s national gas company, to assist in the development of Israel’s Leviathan gas field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

“It seems that Vladimir Putin and Russia are playing a long game of their own,” the report said. “Many observers assume that Russia, having helped construct Iran’s nuclear plant at Bushehr as part of a long-standing relationship with Tehran, would be likely to become embroiled directly in support of their Middle East allies in an Israel-Iran conflict. However, the Kremlin appears to have higher economic and political priorities. Chief among them: ensuring its vast energy resources help it to remain a global superpower.

“So what would Russia do if Iran was attacked? Intriguingly, the answer may have been settled with Putin’s Russia having already sold out its Iranian ‘partners’ for an attempted hand into Israeli gas.”

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