Israel Gas Ignites Tough Talk From Neighbors

June 18, 2010 by  

Israeli Natural Gas Find Keeps On Getting Bigger But Could Ignite Trouble

Vosizneias Tel Aviv – Israel’s natural gas bonanza in the eastern Mediterranean just keep getting bigger, with reserves currently pegged at around 25 trillion cubic feet.

That’s enough to guarantee the Jewish state, dependent on imported energy since it was founded in 1948, energy security for at least two decades.

The strikes at three fields, dubbed Tamar, Dalat and Leviathan, could even turn Israel into a gas exporter and transform its economy. There are indications that there’s oil down there as well.

But the offshore finds may become a casus belli (case for war) as Lebanon, Israel’s northern neighbor and longtime battleground, lays claim to the gas fields as well.

Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper reported June 8 that the biggest field found off Israel, Leviathan, extends north into Lebanese waters and could well aggravate tensions between the countries.

Under the headline “Israel prepares to steal gas fields in Lebanon’s waters,” the leftist daily said if Israel tried to siphon gas from Lebanese territory, Beirut would be forced to defend its resources.

One of Hezbollah’s top leaders, Hashem Safieddine, head of the Iranian-backed movement’s executive council, has declared it won’t allow Israel to “loot” Lebanese gas resources.

Israel’s military chiefs say Hezbollah currently possesses around 45,000 missiles and rockets, which could be fired at Israel’s emerging energy infrastructure centered on the port of Haifa.

The city was repeatedly hit by Hezbollah rockets during the 34-day war with Israel in July and August 2006.

These days, Hezbollah purportedly has long-range weapons that have greater accuracy and carry more destructive warheads than those used in 2006. These are capable of hitting just about anywhere in Israel.

In the event of renewed hostilities, and both sides are talking tough again, Israel’s energy installations would be prime targets.

Lebanon’s parliament speaker, Hezbollah ally Nabih Berri, has urged the Beirut government to move swiftly to start its own offshore exploration or risk Israel claiming whatever resources there are.

“Israel is racing to make the case a fait accompli and was quick to present itself as an oil emirate, ignoring the fact that, according to the maps, the deposits extend into Lebanese waters,” said Berri.

The speaker, who has submitted a parliamentary bill to launch exploration of Lebanon’s potential offshore reserves, declared: “Lebanon must take immediate action to defend its financial, political, economic and sovereign rights.”

Israeli officials insist that the gas fields lie within Israeli territorial waters.

However, the liberal Haaretz daily noted Tuesday, “Israel has yet to declare its exclusive economic zone, though this usually applies to what in the sea, such as fish, and not what lies under the continental shelf.”

It quoted Professor Moshe Hirsch of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, an expert in international law, as saying that problem could arise when the continental shelf is shared by more than one country.

But he maintained the gas lies squarely in Israel’s sector of the continental shelf and so there was no need top declare an exclusive economic zone.

The first strikes were made early this year at the Dalit field off Hadera, south of Haifa by a consortium headed by Noble Energy, a U.S. company with headquarters in Houston, which is working with three Israeli firms.

Tamar, 50 miles east of Haifa, was found in April. Last week Nobel raised its original estimate of the field’s size by 33 percent to 8.4 trillion cubic feet of gas.

But then came the discovery of Leviathan, double the size of Tamar at an estimated 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, further off the coast.

Nobel said that total offshore reserves could top 30 trillion cubic feet, double Britain’s giant gas fields in the North Sea, with a conservative value of some $300 billion. Nobel is moving a drilling platform from the Gulf of Mexico to step up exploration.

Gas production is to begin in 2012. Israel is planning to build a liquefied natural gas plant near Haifa but it probably won’t go online until 2015.

The gas finds, particularly Leviathan, which may turn out to be even bigger, are “nothing short of a geopolitical gamechanger,” Gal Luft, executive director of the U.S.-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, wrote in Haaretz Sunday.

“Altogether the basin the eastern Mediterranean … could contain an amount of gas equivalent to one-fifth of U.S. natural gas reserves.”

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5 Responses to “Israel Gas Ignites Tough Talk From Neighbors”

  1. JoAnn Dolberg on June 18th, 2010 5:08 pm

    Finding gas in Israel…….SO EXCITING!!! Israel surely MUST know that there are many people who LOVE THEM!!!

  2. Karen Nixon-Simons on June 19th, 2010 9:24 am

    Read Psalms 83- The God Of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, will be expanding Israel’s land. The Jewish people were given all of this by God. Y’Shua the Jewish Messiah will protect the Jewish people. Praise the Lord. I for one stand with Israel. May Israel prosper amazingly. Praise the Lord !!!!!!!!!.
    I pray daily for Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu. God will show him exactly what he needs to do.
    Shalom/ God Bless each of you

  3. TIM VANIDESTINE on January 5th, 2011 4:59 pm

    Praise God- there a great feeling when you know your a part of what’s going on in Israel. Zion OIl and Gas is our blessing.

  4. Denis Bowden on June 11th, 2011 5:07 am

    That Day.

    Rise my children from hoary tomb.
    Let cindered ash and dust exhume.
    Dry bones I will with flesh replace
    and again re-sinew to run apace.

    Archangel sound your trumpet horn,
    O sons of man you are reborn.

    Michael, raise the Heavenly Host,
    for rides to battle, the Holy Ghost.

    E’ re patient aeon my hand has stayed,
    as I gathered lost sheep and flocks that strayed.
    That precious remnant I now raise high,
    with Me to rule and never die!

    Soon dawns the time called Armageddon,
    a day revealed midst skies so leaden.

    Gathers the foe with his dreadful visage.
    He assembles the mighty from all the lands:
    false Gods they worship and blood on their hands.

    The Anti-Christ harangues and shouts,
    exhorting his armies and stifling their doubts.

    I myself ordained this day,
    for final cleansing and scourging raze.
    The plain that stretches from Megiddo’s great Tell,
    piled high with corpses and souls called to Hell.

    And the Great Beast with his loathsome jeers,
    cast down to the Pit for a thousand years.

    The scavenging carrion pick at the bones
    the battle now silent, no cries or groans.

    Angelic chorus; hosannas ring,
    as into Jerusalem comes its rightful King.

    The Mount of Olives splits in two:
    Again stands My Temple so precious its hue.

    A living stream from Temple Mount,
    waters the land with a living fount.

    All now worship and fall on your knees,
    The Messiah has heard your heart felt pleas.

    All this is written and soon shall be.
    May the Lord God preserve us
    and so say we.

    Denis Bowden.

  5. Dr S D Limaye on June 16th, 2011 6:36 pm

    Although I am an Indian citizen, I was lucky to get a scholarship to study in Israel. I am very happy that the Israelis have found an energy source and need not depend on others. Shalom and Good Luck.

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