Natural gas sought in Negev
Natural gas sought in NegevIsrael News Photo

The Energtek Company announced Tuesday that it has won a commercial license from the Ministry of National Infrastructure to search for natural gas in the Negev.

The government approved the exploration, production and sale of any natural gas found by Energtek on some 19,000 acres in the northern Negev region.

Plans call for using newly-created Low-Pressure Mobile Pipeline bulk transportation technology to distribute the natural gas to local industrial consumers. The system enables cost-effective transport of natural gas without established pipelines, according to Energtek CEO Lev Zaidenberg.

A company statement explained that Energtek develops and applies proprietary low-pressure storage technology to provide well-to-wheel pipeless natural gas supply solutions to industrial consumers and fleets of small vehicles.

One of the challenges confronting production and distribution of the more than five trillion cubic feet of natural gas recently discovered off the coast of Haifa is connected with Israel's lack of a developed natural gas pipeline distribution network.

"We are confident that natural gas will play an increasing role in supplying Israel's growing energy needs," said Zaidenberg. "And since building a pipeline distribution network is a long and expensive process, we anticipate growing demand for bulk transportation solutions such as LMP," he added.

Noble Energy Inc., the company that discovered the huge gas reserve in January, recently began drilling a second Mediterranean well, 60 kilometers west of Hadera, which it dubbed "Dalit-1.

The Houston-based company said it had completed drilling at the Tamar-1 well, located 90 kilometers west of Haifa, where reserves were found to be more than 60 percent larger than initial estimates.

Egyptian Gas Supplies to Israel in Jeopardy

A $ 2.5 billion Gas Agreement was signed in 2005 between the Israel Electric Company and the Egyptian East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG). The 15-year contract is seen as an important element in the bilateral economic relationship between the two nations.

Egyptian government officials have faced growing opposition to its sale of natural gas to the State of Israel, especially in the wake of the counterterrorism Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

Cairo's Supreme Administrative Court earlier this week gave both the government and opponents to the 2005 deal a six-month period in which to review information showing whether the terms are favorable to Egypt, or not, after which time the court will reconvene.