Israel's OIL and GAS Opportunity 03-05-2014
Israel the Oil and Gas Opportunity
by Jon Mainwaring, Rigzone Staff,Friday, May 02, 2014
Rigzone speaks to Joshua Beagelman – organizer of Israel's first international oil and gas conference and exhibition – about oil and gas opportunities in the Holy Land.
Since natural gas was first discovered offshore Israel in 1998, the country has seen the growth of an oil and gas industry that promises to provide not only an economic boost to the country itself but could also prove to be a diplomatic tool that can be used to build better relations with some of its neighboring states.
Interest in Israel as a hydrocarbon-producing nation grew significantly in 2009 after Noble Energy Inc. – then a relatively small U.S. independent oil and gas producer – found the largest deep-water natural gas discovery in the world that year. The discovery, Tamar, had gross means resources estimated at a whopping 10 trillion cubic feet.
But even that discovery was dwarfed by Noble's subsequent find of 19 trillion cubic feet of gas at the Leviathan field, some 29 miles to the southwest of Tamar, in December 2010.
Since 2009, Noble and its partners have discovered estimated gross resources of more than 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas offshore Israel.
However, despite these successes Israel is still somewhat "under the radar" as far as the international oil and gas industry is concerned, according to Joshua Beagelman – the Chief Operating Officer of Universal Oil & Gas, which is organizing Israel's first international oil and gas conference and exhibition in November this year.
"There are a lot of independent operators in the U.S. that have not considered Israel because it's just not on their agenda. Israel, in terms of marketing, does not seem as attractive as Cyprus or Lebanon," Beagelman said, explaining that Cyprus may have made a few discoveries but it hasn't developed them yet while Lebanon is still at a very early exploration stage.
"So, Israel in that region is the only country with production online at the moment."
Indeed, the time taken for the Tamar field from discovery in 2009 to production of first gas in March 2013 is demonstrative of why Israel should be on more international oil and gas firms' radar screens, according to Beagelman.
"It took them four years to get to the production stage. That's up there as one of the fastest-ever turnarounds of a deep-water discovery. This showcases a lot of things: it demonstrates Israel's infrastructure and it shows that they can go to production in a short space of time in an emerging oil and gas market. In other emerging markets that process can take double the amount of time or even longer," Beagelman said.
Israel also has a very significant onshore opportunity in the shape of oil shale – oil trapped in rock that is extracted using heat as well as drilling. Israel and neighboring Jordan sit on the second-largest deposits of oil shale in the world after the United States.
From Ezekiel we learn that when Russia and the EU invade the Middle East they do so to take a "spoil", could Oil be the "spoil" they will be after?