How Israel Could Revolutionize the Global Energy Sector

(Jerusalem Post) Dore Gold - New developments in the energy sector could alter Israel's standing in the world, especially with respect to Europe. Gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean, which began to produce commercial quantities of natural gas in 2004, include the Tamar field which should begin production in 2013. It is expected to supply all of Israel's domestic requirements for at least 20 years. The Economist suggested in November 2010 that the recently discovered Leviathan field, which has twice the gas of Tamar, could be completely devoted to exports. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are 122 trillion cubic feet of gas in the whole Levant Basin, most of which is within Israel's jurisdiction. Even more dramatic is the work being done on Israel's oil shale. A new assessment by Dr. Yuval Bartov, chief geologist for Israel Energy Initiatives, says Israel's oil shale reserves are actually the equivalent of 250 billion barrels (that compares with 260 billion barrels in the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia). Israel could emerge as having the third largest deposit of oil shale, after the U.S. and China. New technologies being developed for Israeli shale seek to separate the oil from the shale rock 300 meters underground, using a method that has none of the negative ecological side-effects of earlier oil shale efforts. When will the West begin to treat Israel as a powerful energy giant and not as a weak client state that must be pressured? In the case of the Saudis, it was when the U.S. realized the true extent of their oil reserves. In the case of Israel, updated international reports verifying the true dimensions of both its undersea gas and oil shale should be forthcoming in the next year. The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and served as ambassador to the UN.

2011-03-11 00:00:00

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