The discovery of the Tamar gas field followed by an additional discovery at Leviathan transformed Israel’s status as an energy producer.
Petroleum and its products supply some 60% of Israel’s energy consumption. Approximately 300,000 barrels of oil are used daily, all of which are imported from overseas with only a negligible amount produced locally. To reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil and strengthen its economy, the Israeli Ministry of Energy and Water Resources promotes oil and natural gas exploration onshore and offshore.
Until recently exploration efforts were not very successful. However, the discovery of the Tamar gas field in 2009 followed by an additional discovery at Leviathan transformed the country’s status as an energy producer and the effect on the economy has been profound. The finds have allowed Israel to become a nation capable of providing for a substantial portion of its energy consumption.
Israel adopted a gas policy which allows the export of 50%-100% of newly-discovered natural gas reservoirs. The first agreement signed will see Israel supply natural gas from the Leviathan field to Jordan's National Electric Power Company. Gross contract revenues are expected to be around $10bn. And the country has pipeline options under consideration to nearby Egypt and Cyprus along with more distant locations such as Greece and Turkey.
At present, the total amount of recoverable gas reserves found offshore Israel is estimated at 900 BCM. These new findings allow Israel to become a nation capable of providing a substantial portion of its energy consumption, curbing its dependence on external sources.
Israel has recently published an offshore energy exploration licensing round and is now encouraging multinational companies in the energy sector to take part in the bid.
In the coming round, Israel will offer for competitive bidding 24 blocks located in the central part of the offshore area. These 24 blocks were chosen based on seismic and geologic data indicating a high potential for promising geological structures. The blocks, some of which are adjacent to recent major gas discoveries, are a maximum size of 400 Sq. km2, and sit in water depths of between 1,500 and 1,800 metres.
The round will officially open in November 2016, and the closing date for bids on the offered blocks will be March 2017.