Gas-rich Israel may find exporting tricky
JERUSALEM — Recent discoveries of extensive offshore natural gas deposits, set to begin flowing in the coming days, are turning into a geopolitical tangle for Israel.
The deposits are expected to provide Israel with enough natural gas for decades and transform the country, famously empty of natural resources, into an energy exporter. Yet selling the gas overseas will require Israel to navigate a geopolitical quagmire that risks angering allies and enemies alike. Amid the uncertainty, Israel still has not formulated an export policy.
“Instead of being an ingredient which serves to calm the tensions of the eastern Mediterranean, (the discoveries) provide instead another impetus for rivalry,” said Simon Henderson, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “There is a reason this is often called diplomatically trapped gas.”
Israel discovered two large fields, Tamar and the heftier Leviathan, in 2009 and 2010. Tamar, which holds an estimated 8.5 trillion cubic feet, is set to begin pumping to the Israeli market in the coming days, while Leviathan, which boasts an estimated 16 trillion to 18 trillion cubic feet of gas, is expected to go online in 2016, the approximate time when exports are expected to begin.
The discoveries are just a portion of the huge reserves in the Levant Basin, which the U.S. Geological Survey estimated in 2010 holds 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.
While Israel's finds are minimal compared with gas giants Russia, Iran or Qatar, they are more than enough for the country's domestic needs and would enable the country to reduce its reliance on costlier and dirtier oil and coal. Nearby Cyprus also has become newly resource-rich, and Israel's other neighbors, including enemies, may discover their own deposits.
In all, Israel has the world's 46th largest supply of proven natural gas reserves, according to the CIA Factbook.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Defying the odds makes this Thanksgiving particularly poignant
- Rare surgery helps woman beat paralysis
- Millions in pollution fines went unused for decades in Allegheny County
- Group’s proposed fracking moratorium for Allegheny County parks to go on council agenda
- Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank adds chief financial officer Lutovsky
- Girl, 12, rescues 4-year-old sister from burning house in Homestead
- Apartment development outlined for former Schenley High School in Pittsburgh
- Dinners, other Thanksgiving events planned in region
- Reading Harry Potter provides clues to brain activity, CMU researchers say
- U.S. Steel to relocate corporate headquarters on former Civic Arena site
- U.S. Steel Tower tenants stand to benefit from company’s relocation