Israel may have the last laugh to the old joke that “Moses took the wrong turn in the desert,” going to a land of sand instead of oil, which may be waiting to be found under the sea, says a government oil expert.

A geological map presented at Hebrew University last week shows that the Levant Basin, which includes the huge Leviathan gas field, may contain large quantities of oil in deep strata.

Dr. Yaakov Mimran, outgoing Petroleum Supervisor, said that if the drilling in the Leviathan field uncovers oil, there is a good chance more “black gold” is waiting to be discovered in similar strata, Globes reported.

Mimran’s map indicates that several other offshore exploration licensees are in structures that might contain oil.

Israel also may be sitting on huge shale oil deposits, and the Israeli Energy Initiatives company hopes to launch a pilot project by the end of this year that will lead towards production of 50,000 barrels a day, one-fifth of Israel’s consumption.

Oil shale deposits cover 15 percent of the country, according to estimates of the Infrastructures Ministry, which would place Israel as having one of the largest oil reserves in the world.

The World Energy Council estimates Israel's shale deposits might contain up to 250 billion barrels of oil, almost the same amount of proven oil reserves in Saudi Arabia.