The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced Saturday it will start searching for oil near Rantis, a town north west of Ramallah and just east of the 1949 Armistice line. The PA further claimed contracts will be signed with British companies in the coming weeks to produce natural gas from sea reserves off the Gaza coast.
On Saturday Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Mohammed Mustafa, said that the PA is in the final stages of preparation before advertising bids internationally to drill for oil in Judea and Samaria.
The drilling is planned for the area around Rantis, according to an interview for Palestinian TV by the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. He claims Israel produces 800 barrels of oil per day from the region.
Hamdallah further stated that natural gas production on the sea reserves found off the Gaza coast in 1998 will begin in 2017.
He added that in London he spoke with the company British Petroleum as well as Said Khoury, president of Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), in talks the he believes will lead to a contract in the coming weeks to produce gas. According to Hamdallah the production will provide 150 million dollars in annual revenue from sales in the local and global market.
Israel has seen some activity recently in oil and gas production, particularly following new finds of reserves off its coast, most notably the massive Leviathan and Tamar fields off the northern coast.
In August a new crude oil field was discovered in the sea, and just last week Israeli companies Delek Drilling and Anver Oil and Gas Exploration signed an agreement to acquire a 30 percent stake in exploration rights for gas and oil off the southern shore of Cyprus.