Israel’s new standing in the oil and gas industry presents a bonanza of business opportunities to Louisiana, which exports $306 million worth of goods to Israel annually.

Israel now ranks as Louisiana's 17th leading trade partner in 2010. Since 1996, the southern state, where oil and gas rigs operate, has exported nearly $4 billion in goods to Israel.

The New Orleans U.S. Export Assistance Center, Le Centre International de Lafayette and the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exhibition, is planning to host local businessmen Wednesday in a program of “Doing Business in Israel.”

The recent massive natural gas finds off Israel’s Mediterranean coast, where possible commercial quantities of oil also are being drilled, has turned Israel into a future energy exporter that as attracted energy producers and manufacturers.

Economists have said that most Israelis have not woken up to a real economic revolution that will provide thousands of jobs, make Israel a key player in the energy industry, and may make  strengthen the shekel.

The Leviathan gas field west of Haifa has been described as the largest natural gas discovery in the world in recent years.

Among officials attending the Louisiana conference is a senior representative of Noble Energy, which has a high stake in Israel’s newly discovered gas fields.

Recent upwardly revised estimates of natural gas reserves in the Tamar field, in which Noble has a one-third stake, may indicate even larger quantizes than previously estimated at the Leviathan field, which is three times larger than Tamar.

The two fields contain at least 25 trillion cubic feet of gas, enough to supply Israel for decades and still leave plenty for export.

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