Israel's Natural Gas Discoveries: A Game Changer for the Middle East?

Israel’s energy picture is similar to the United States-both countries are awash in natural gas, have a growing demand for electric power much of which still is generated by coal (70% of Israel’s power), a significant solar industry and policies to incent electric/hybrid cars, along with concerns about exporting energy. Yet, Israel’s export energy picture is very different from the U.S. in that Israel has significant security issues, in addition to commercial challenges.

In 2009, the Tamar field was discovered in the eastern Mediterranean. It is estimated that Tamar has almost 10 Tcf, which is half of Europe’s annual consumption, or enough to meet all of Israel’s natural gas requirements for 20 years. (The Aphrodite field  is equal to Tamar was discovered in Cyprus’ waters). More significantly, in 2010, the Leviathan field (25 Tcf) ,which is the size of Las Vegas, was discovered. It is estimated to be large enough to meet two years of Europe’s natural gas consumption.

On Nov. 1, 2013, Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Knesset that the Government may export up to 40% of the Mediterranean gas. Being discussed are pipelines to Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Greece and LNG export terminals.

Contact: William A. Mogel has been retained by an Israeli gas company. wamogel@mogelsweet.com or 301.642.5804 (direct)