Israel’s Energy Future
by Martin Beranek:
Energy has always been the weak link in Israel’s thriving economy. Decades of digging and drilling yielded practically no hydrocarbons at all. Israel was forced to spend 5% of its GDP buying fuel from suppliers that did not have its interests at heart, and were often unreliable. At one point for instance, Israel purchased 40% of its natural gas from Egypt. But the pipeline across the Sinai has been bombed so many times there was often not enough time between explosions to get the gas flowing again. Post-Mubarak Egypt desperately needs the money to replace lost tourism revenue, but hatred of Israel trumps all.
The first brightening of this bleak picture came in 1998, when offshore drilling in Israel’s Mediterranean waters got under way. In 2000, a consortium led by Noble Energy of Houston struck commercial quantities of natural gas off the southern coast, west of Ashdod. By 2004, the Mari B field was in full production, with reserves of nearly 1 trillion cubic feet of gas. This remains the only currently producing offshore well in Israel.
But Noble Energy was convinced there must be bigger reserves waiting in deeper waters, and in 2009, diligent exploration paid off in a big way.
We have wanted to invest in Noble and others doing exploration in Israel for years now but we we could never spare the money for that sort of thing but every time we hear of discoveries we rejoice for the people of Israel.
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