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      Blue and White Gas: Israel to be Self-Sufficient for 20 Years

      New estimates of a natural gas field off the Haifa Coast will allow Israel to be self-sufficient in energy for two decades, investors predict.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 7/8/2009, 10:37 AM

      Israel news photo

      New estimates of natural gas reserves recently discovered off the Mediterranean Coast near Haifa will allow Israel to be self-sufficient in energy for two decades, according to Yitzchak Tshuva, one of the investors in the project. “Israel today is independent – completely independent with blue and white [Israeli-made] energy,” said Tshuva, chief executive office of Delek Energy.

      The Tamar 2 drilling, 3.5 miles north of the Tamar 1 site that was discovered in April, indicates the reserves are 26 percent larger than previously estimated. Noble Energy, the largest participant in the project, said that appraisals confirmed the quality of the gas and “have reduced the uncertainty in previous resource estimates.” The gas reserves are in addition to the Dalit gas field discovered off the Hadera coast, south of Haifa, earlier this year.

      "With drilling at Tamar and Dalit, we have already confirmed a very substantial amount of natural gas resources, perhaps over two decades of future supply based on projected needs,” said Charles D. Davidson, Noble's chairman and chief executive officer. “We are moving forward with development plans focused on bringing the first phase of production to the Israeli shores by 2012."

      Income from the gas might reach as much as $30 billion instead of the $20 billion that was estimated in April. Development costs for bringing the gas online are projected at $1.5-$3 billion.

      Self-sufficiency would significantly strengthen the shekel as well as create jobs.

      Noble Energy has a 36 percent working interest in the project. Other participants are Isramco Negev 2 with 28.75 percent, Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration with 15.625 percent each, and Dor Gas Exploration with the remaining four percent.