Field of dreams: Israel’s natural gas

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    Sep 03, 2012 5:35 PM GMT
    Very promising with continued geopolitical implications.

    After decades of importing every drop of fuel, Israel has struck it rich, uncovering vast reserves of natural gas in the Mediterranean

    The men on board the Sedco Express are busy testing the field’s multiple wells in preparation for the long-awaited day next April, when a US-Israeli consortium will start pumping the gas onshore. With reserves of almost 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Tamar field is a hugely valuable asset for the Israeli economy. Discovered in January 2009, it was the biggest gas find in the world that year, and by far the biggest ever made in Israeli waters. But the record held for barely two years. In December 2010, Tamar was dwarfed by the discovery of the Leviathan gasfield some 20 miles farther east – the largest deepwater gas reservoir found anywhere in the world over the past decade. The two fields, together with a string of smaller discoveries, will cover Israel’s domestic demand for gas for at least the next 25 years, and still leave hundreds of billions of cubic feet for sale abroad. The government take from the gasfields alone is forecast to reach at least $140bn over the next three decades – a staggering sum for a relatively small economy such as Israel’s.

    Experts are convinced that Tamar and Leviathan will not be the last big Israeli discoveries. They point to the US Geological Survey, which estimates that the subsea area that runs from Egypt all the way north to Turkey, also known as the Levantine Basin, contains more than 120 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Israeli waters account for some 40 per cent of the total. Should these estimates be confirmed through discoveries in the years ahead, Israel’s natural gas reserves would count among the 25 largest in the world, on a par with the proven reserves of Libya and ahead of those of India and The Netherlands. For decades a barren energy island, forced to import every drop of fuel, Israel today stands on the cusp of an economic revolution, fuelled by the vast riches that lie below its waters.
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    Sep 03, 2012 9:12 PM GMT
    On top of that:

    CALGARY — Canada and Israel are joining forces over energy.

    The two countries signed an agreement on energy cooperation Tuesday that will allow for more collaboration over resource development projects and renewable power research.

    ...The London-based World Energy Council estimates the Shfela Basin, southwest of Jerusalem, contains up to 250 billion barrels of shale oil. The discovery places the country third globally in shale oil resources, behind just the United States and China, and rivals the 250 billion barrels of conventional oil reserves controlled by Saudi Arabia.

    ...Canadian knowledge and expertise could help Israel to quickly gain ground, which in turn could lead to a shift in the energy influence in the Middle East away from traditional power brokers such as the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries.

    “OPEC has been dominant because conventional oil is concentrated in a few countries but as non-conventionalenergy is more dispersedly found, that is going to reduce that dominance and frankly that is good for the West and it is good for Canada,” he [Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources] said in an interview last week.

    “And with their recent finds, it is good for Israel as well.”