Offshore Ambitions
Israel Ready to Unleash Its Leviathan

Israeli’s domestic energy prospects have dramatically changed over the past few years as natural gas has started to flow from the offshore Tamar gas field. That field alone is estimated to contribute a full percentage point to Israel’s GDP, but it has an even larger neighbor, the Leviathan field. Appropriately, the Leviathan field contains 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, more than double the Tamar find, but production hasn’t started yet due to a dispute between the Israeli government and the consortium of energy firms looking to develop it. Now, as Reuters reports, a deal has been struck, and the Leviathan is ready to come to life:

After weeks of talks over the government’s initial proposal in June, the controversial deal will allow Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group to keep ownership of the largest offshore field, Leviathan. They are required to sell off other assets, including stakes in another large deposit called Tamar. […]

Leviathan, with estimated reserves of 22 trillion cubic feet (tcf) or 622 billion cubic metres, is slated to begin production in 2018 or 2019 and expected to supply billions of dollars of gas to Egypt and Jordan in addition to supplying Israel.

These offshore gas finds have almost overnight changed Israel’s energy security concerns from having to deal with irregular imports from Egypt to preparing to export to its neighbors. Last year Israel signed a $15 billion gas deal with Jordan, a moved that “[showed] a growing pattern of Israeli investment in long-term energy relationships with its Arab neighbors, and thus a firmer embedding of the country into the region,” as Rachel Bronson wrote on this site at the time.

Now Israel’s largest offshore gas field looks set to start production within the next three or four years, and you can be sure its arrival on the scene will make waves in the region.

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