Israel Strikes It Rich: Enormous Natural Gas Field Begins Production

Photo Credit: AP

Natural gas began to flow into Israel over the weekend from a large offshore field, ending Israel’s status as a dry patch in an oil-rich region.

The flow came from the first of two enormous gas fields discovered off Israel’s coast in the past three years. The two fields, known as Tamar and Leviathan, are sufficient to supply Israel for 150 years, according to Bloomberg Business Week.

The Bank of Israel estimated that the flow this year from Tamar, the smaller of the two fields, would contribute one percent to Israel’s gross domestic product. Overall, the bank expects Israel’s economy to grow 3.8 percent this year.

The field is located 56 miles west of the Haifa port. The Leviathan field is slated to come online in 2016. The long-term value of the fields at today’s prices has been estimated at about $240 billion. More than half of profits are to be paid in taxes to the Israeli government.

“This is the beginning of a new era,” Isaac Tshuva, controlling shareholder of Delek Group Ltd., which holds a major stake in Tamar, told Business Week. “The Israeli economy will be able to exploit natural gas environmentally, geopolitically, socially and economically.”

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