Daily Israel Report

Israel Considers Underwater Gas Exports to Greece, EU

Israel is considering construction of an underwater pipeline to export natural gas to Europe and Greece. Turkey is not included in the project.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 8/31/2010, 2:59 PM / Last Update: 8/31/2010, 3:20 PM

Israel is considering construction of an underwater gas pipeline to export natural gas to Europe and Greece.

According to sources quoted by the Globes business news service, the idea was raised during a meeting last week between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreaou. Relations with Greece, a member of the European Union, have grown closer over the past several months.

Turkey, a nation that once would have been considered a natural partner in such an endeavor, and a rival with Greece, is not being considered for the project. The Muslim-led Ankara government has increasingly distanced itself from the Jewish State since Operation Cast Lead, the counter terrorist war against Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers in the winter of 2008-2009.

A number of mammoth natural gas fields have been discovered along Israel’s Mediterranean coastline over the past few years. Among them is the Leviathan energy field, which appears likely to hold enough gas to meet Israel’s needs for the next 60 years, at the current demand projections.  

The reservoir is owned by a conglomerate comprised of Noble Energy, Avner Oil and Gas LP, Delek Drilling LP, and Ratio Oil Exploration LP.

In June, Noble Energy announced that a seismic survey had found a high probability scientists would discover up to 16 trillion cubic feet (453 billion cubic meters) of natural gas in the reservoir.

The find comes in addition to that discovered at the two Tamar drilling sites near Haifa, which is said to be enough to provide for Israel’s needs for at least 30 years. Noble Energy and Delek own the Tamar well, together with Isramco Ltd. and Dor Alon Energy Exploration Ltd.

The Tamar discovery in April 2009 came on the heels of an earlier find, that of the Dalit gas field off the coast of Hadera, south of Haifa earlier the same year.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated this year that some 122 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, recoverable natural gas lie in the Levant Basin Province in the eastern Mediterranean region – an area that includes the coastal region near Israel and Lebanon, which claims the energy field is off its coast.