Israel, surrounded by the same enemies on which it depends for its energy supplies, has won a game-changing gamble that may re-deal the cards in the Middle East.
If you look at the figures, an energy revolution could be underway in the Eastern Mediterranean. Since March this year, Israel has begun extracting 636 mcf of natural gas a day from the Tamar field, located fifty miles or so [90 km] off the northern coast of the country. The output already amounts to 1% of Israel’s GDP for the year and, in the long term, since the field contains up to 9 tcf of estimated reserves, it could cover the country’s energy requirements for the next 25 years. The natural gas field, discovered four years ago, has been developed by a consortium of companies led by the American Noble Energy and the Israeli firms Delek Drilling Partnership, and Avner Oil and Gas Exploration (both part of the Delek Group).
This is pretty much the same group currently exploring the nearby deepwater Leviathan Basin, with the aim of getting it up and running by 2017. Leviathan, with estimated reserves totaling 18 tcf, is considered the largest natural gas discovery in the world in the past decade. For Israel, sur rounded by more or less hostile neighbours and almost completely dependent on coal and oil imports, the sudden appearance of gas out of the sea seems very similar to the biblical manna from heaven.