Israel - Energy
As of January 2014, the Oil & Gas Journal estimated Israel's proved reserves of oil at 11.5 million barrels and its proved reserves of natural gas at 10.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). While neither figure places Israel in the top-40 globally, these totals are significantly higher than they were a few years ago.
Energy exploration over the past several years uncovered significant natural gas resources in Israel, primarily in the country's offshore areas. The Mari-B field—discovered in 2000—provided the first significant volumes of domestically-produced natural gas to Israel's markets, but in 2012 production plummeted as the field entered the final stages of depletion. In prior years, the Mari-B field met up to 40% of Israel's natural gas demand.
•Israel began commercial production of natural gas from the Tamar field (located offshore, near Haifa) in March 2013. The natural gas produced from the Tamar field travels through existing onshore facilities at Ashdod via a pipeline that links to existing infrastructure at the Mari-B development site. Plans are moving forward on a floating LNG project that will draw natural gas supply from the Tamar field (with estimated discoveries of 10 Tcf) and the nearby Dalit field and will produce approximately 3 million tons of LNG per year (144 billion cubic feet per year) as soon as 2017. The most recent [as of 2014] offshore discovery occurred at the Tamar Southwest exploration well, located 8 miles southwest of the Tamar Field, and the Tamar Southwest field may contain more than 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas in place.
The most significant find in offshore Israel is the Leviathan field, located approximately 80 miles off the coast and situated in water that is more than 5,000 feet deep. Assessments of the Leviathan field indicate that there could be as much as 19 Tcf of recoverable natural gas in place. Production could begin at Leviathan in 2016 at the earliest.
While historically Israel had been an importer of natural gas—most recently through the Arish-Ashkelon pipeline from Egypt and a very small portion through a newly installed floating and regasification terminal— the discoveries of the Tamar and Leviathan fields (among several others) should allow the country to become a significant exporter of natural gas in the next decade. There are competing proposals to develop pipelines and LNG infrastructure to support natural gas exports, but deliberations about how Israel will get its natural gas to market are ongoing.
In January 2014, the Israeli government approved plans to supply the Palestinian Authority with natural gas from Leviathan once production commences. In early 2014, Noble Energy signed a natural gas sales agreement with two Jordanian companies to supply them with natural gas from the Tamar field. The initial term of the agreement with Jordan is 15 years, for a total gross quantity of 66 billion cubic feet, with exports beginning in 2016.
In 2012, Israel consumed 15.4 million short tons of coal, mostly for use in electricity generation. That figure is likely to decline as Israel's natural gas sector continues its rapid growth and natural gas-fired generating capacity supplants coal-fired generating capacity.
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