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Israel Joins the Natural Gas Revolution

Natural gas began flowing out of the Tamar gas field off the coast of Israel yesterday, in a sign of Israel’s changing position in the global energy landscape. The Tamar field is the smaller of two adjacent reservoirs, and developing it was the largest infrastructure project in Israel’s history. A 150 kilometer pipeline, one of the longest of its kind in the world, connects the field to Ashdod. Together, the Tamar field and its larger neighbor, named Leviathan, are among the largest offshore natural gas discoveries in the past decade.

Beyond these milestones, the Tamar and Leviathan fields will change Israel’s position in the geopolitical and energy world. For one thing, the gas will satisfy much of Israel’s domestic needs. The Tamar field alone will contribute one percentage point to Israel’s GDP, which is estimated to reach 3.8 percent. No longer will Israel have to rely on irregular transport of gas from Egypt; in fact, the companies that control the Tamar and Leviathan fields are considering exporting gas to neighboring countries like Jordan and Turkey. As the gas began flowing from Tamar this weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this was “an important day for the Israeli economy.”

Looking at the global energy landscape generally, things are changing. Once big consumers of foreign energy, countries like the US and Israel are exploiting domestic sources of oil and gas and becoming more self-sufficient. And less beholden to turbulent or unfriendly countries like Venezuela and Nigeria. As this happens, countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia, which in the past were important and rich because of their energy riches, are going to find their positions in the energy world eroded.

As the owner of one of the companies running the Tamar project put it: “This is the beginning of a new era.”

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  • Atanu Maulik

    So Moses was right after all ! This is one revolution I really like. This is the biggest transfer of power from the bad guys to the good ones since the fall of the Evil empire.

  • Fred

    Atanu, Agreed. I wish more of the energy resources of the world were in civilized hands instead of those of barbarians who use profits from it to kill the people from whom they receive those profits.

  • bigfire

    It’ll be a supreme irony if Egypt, a country that had been bent on destroying Israel is forced to beg for imported natural gas from Israel.

  • USNK2

    Just want to add a shout-out to the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Nobel Energy for their help in further boosting israel’s economic security through offshore natural gas development like the Tamar field.
    Governor Rick Perry is to be commended for his 20+ years of seeing the technological and economic resources of Israel, and the mutual benefits of trade between Texas and Israel.

  • CygnusA81

    This is great news for Israel. Not only can they become energy independent, they can lead the way on creating natural gas cars and create an infrastructure that would support that type of vehicle.

  • Marcelo

    While it is great news for Israel, it is also, unfortunately, likely to open a new front in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Hezbollah has already announced that it believes the gas is in Lebanese waters and the Israeli Defense Forces are preparing for contingency scenarios in the event the rigs are attacked.
    I hope the IDF prepares well for such scenarios, as the rigs are an attractive target for Israel’s enemies and I would be shocked if they are not attacked in the next couple of years.

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